||the artist index for Upstate South Carolina
susanne floyd gunter
about the artist
A native South Carolinian, Dr. Susanne Floyd Gunter has been active in the field of arts and education for nearly 40 years. She received her BA in Studio Art from Limestone College, her masters in Art Education from the University of South Carolina, and her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction – Art Education from the University of South Carolina.
Gunter has received numerous awards including Union High School Teacher of the Year, Union County Teacher of the Year, Dorman High School Teacher of the Year, SC Art Education Association Secondary Art Teacher of the Year, SC Art Education Association Art Educator of the Year, and the SC Art Education Association Higher Education Level Award. She has authored a number of publications on the history of education and art education and presented her research at the state and national levels. She is the historian for the South Carolina Education Association and the South Carolina Art Education Association.
Dr. Gunter has taught courses at Converse College for the Education Department and for the Art Education Program due to her experiences in Educational Administration as a middle school principal, Adult Education Director, Alternative School Director, Fine Arts Coordinator, Family Literacy Director and Art Teacher. She has teaching and administrative experience at all levels and is Chair of the Converse College Department of Art and Design.
As a practicing artist, Dr. Gunter exhibits locally and regionally. She is a member of the Union County Arts Council, Cherokee Association of Visual Artists and a former Spartanburg Artists’ Guild Gallery Director.
about the work
“For the past forty years, I have been pushing myself to make art consistently as I knew that by being a better artist, I would be a better teacher. Most of those years, art making was an important part of my professional development and helped me model professionalism in the discipline to students. The focus would shift this year to where art making would take on even more importance in my life as a healing tool.”
“On February 8, 2016, I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. At 57 years of age, my life started flashing before my eyes at various stages of the diagnosis and treatment process through testing, surgery, and radiation. I depended upon my friends and family to get through the next four months of treatment. At the end of May after experiencing non-drug associated “flashbacks” for four months along with physical burns, I realized that I was dealing with a phenomenological event and life was not the same. The flashbacks took me to various places real, imagined, and conjured from fragments in my life. When I would lie under the radiotherapy treatment machine, I would hear Grateful Dead music in my head and drift off for just the three to five minutes I was there. It was odd association and at the same time somewhat comforting.”
“Using a phenomenological approach during my healing this summer, I began the journey of reviewing my life, my art, and how I wanted to continue to develop my role as an artist/researcher/teacher. With the charge to create a body of “works on paper,” revisiting and recreating the places from my visions became my objective. Landscape has always figured significantly in my work even when it was not the main subject matter; however, my new views reflected the impressions, colors, land and water forms that held meaning in and of themselves and that were not tied to a particular place in the real world, but would be an assimilation of places in my past, present, or mind’s eye. Indeed, what a long strange trip it has been.”