Susan Hodgin: Pieces of Sublimity


"When any work seems to have required immense force and labor to affect it, the idea is grand.”

- Edmund Burke

A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful

On August 22, 2014, Harrison Center artist Susan Hodgin passed away after a hard-fought battle with colon cancer.  Susan filled many shoes in life, and they all suited her well. She grew as a child into an adult, she learned as a student, she loved as a wife, she nurtured as a mother, and she created as an artist.


While I did not know Susan personally, it feels as if I have come to know her, at least in part, through her work. Such an enormous weight of honor was placed on me to hang the remaining work she left in her studio all together in one fortunate space. As each of her pieces settled into its place in the room, the very light seemed pleased to dance over the textures of Susan’s work. It was in those moments of solitude with her work that I knew she passed away having left us with something deeper than beauty. Susan has brought us to the cusp of the sublimity that Edmund Burke spoke of all those years ago. Her work, as reflected in the Burke’s words above, is grand, for each of her canvases was indeed affected by the immense force of her brush and palette. In the words of her former Wheeler Building studio mate, Quincy Owens, “Her colors are perfect.”


Below are some anecdotes written by some of us at HCA who knew and loved Susan. Remember also that memorial contributions can be made to Susan’s daughter Anna's trust fund, BMO Harris Bank 1402 North Shadeland Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46219. Susan's work will hang in the Underground of the Harrison Center through the month of October.

If you have a story about Susan you would like to share, please feel free do so in the comments section below.

Joanna Taft:

Susan was one of our most “professional” artists.  She wasn’t just a great painter and artist, but she was a good business woman.  She could speak to every level of buyer and had achieved client relationships with knowledgeable collectors and high end corporate clients.  Because she conducted herself in a professional manner, she expected that I would too—and I grew as an arts administrator because of her.  Susan expected the best in others and gave us her best.  I will always be grateful.

Quincy Owens:

Many people don't remember that I had a shared studio space through University of Indianapolis at the Wheeler Building for a couple of years before I moved here. At the same time Susan Hodgin was living and working there so we would see each other all of the time. We became friends through a mutual respect for each other's work and have been so ever since. I have always respected her control and deliberation. We would discuss art, history, artists who inspire us, and the concepts we were grappling with in our work. And her colors are perfect!

I don't know if the beauty in her art is an extension of how wonderful she is or if it is the other way around. I suppose the two are forever intertwined. I'm grateful I know her and her work. She leaves a beautiful legacy through her art, her family, and her time with us.

Elizabeth Smith:

Susan was a true artist and a true professional. Wouldn't it have been amazing to see what she would have done next?  If you are lucky enough to own some of her work, then you own a part of a remarkable life.

Jude Odell:

A lovely person; friendly and giving.  With studios across the hall from each other, we developed a friendship that later turned into a very special bond as we journeyed through our illnesses hand in hand.  I miss her terribly.