Susan Maakestad






Not For Sale


  • New Day

    Susan Maakestad

  • Evening

    Susan Maakestad

  • Byways

    Susan Maakestad


About the Artist

Susan Maakestad is a Memphis-based artist whose honors include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, an ArtsAccelerator Grant from ArtsMemphis and direct purchase awards from the UrbanArt Commission in Memphis. In late 2021 she completed her first large scale public art commission at Memphis International Airport. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has been included in “New American Paintings” and has been exhibited nationally. Public collections include the Tennessee State Museum, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and the City of Memphis. She earned an MFA from The University of Iowa and a B.A magna cum laude and M.A. from Central Washington University. Maakestad was Professor of Art at Memphis College of Art from 1997-2020. 

Artist Statement

I have been painting the urban environment in an abstract manner for twenty years. Early on I painted empty sidewalks and parking lots, transforming the mundane urban landscape with diffuse atmosphere and exaggerated color. In 2009, I began using midwestern internet traffic cameras as a reference, creating increasingly abstracted images. What interested me most were the undifferentiated stretches of the urban midwest and the mercurial weather conditions. In my paintings, the empty vistas and changing light evoke a degree of wistful contemplation. I am influenced by 19th century American landscape painting and by the Buddhist concept of groundlessness. The tension between abstraction and illusionism in my work generates something familiar and yet unknown, of this world and yet also otherworldly.