~ Critiques ~

As a hyperrealist painter, Suzana’s engaging works are at once noteworthy, extreme and compelling. Most painters in the photorealist genre have chosen urban landscapes, oversized faces and figures, neon signs, etc. as their signature motifs. Suzana Stojanović has instead concentrated her artistic efforts on horses. And not as one would imagine see horses, for she has personalized the animals in such a way as to totally mesmerize her viewers. Her masterful paintings and drawings are attentive to detail and full of visceral energy not unlike the work of Rubens or Titian.
And make no mistake about it. These are not artwork dripping with emotion. They are highly proficient hyperreal representations of the equine world that visually articulate the natural power and grace of these majestic animals. Each of her works are consistent as to proper positioning, subtle lighting, shading describing solidity of form, tonal balance, color perspective, depth of field, and natural movement.
The first time I viewed Suzana’s work it left a permanent and profoundly deep sensation in my core psyche that recognizably reinforced the universal need to be true to oneself in art as in life. Although her works are relatively divergent as to subject, they are not comprised of disparate styles. Each of her paintings is singularly true to hyperrealism in style and yet they all share a certain humility and softness. However, the humility and softness is not mere stylistic technique; it is Suzana Stojanović the artist.
For example, Silence transmutes a special feeling, one of bonding between the master and his majestic horse. The composition magnifies that relationship in the upward perspective, the expansive width and the palette used for the sky and desert. The saddle itself is bedazzling. Yet the glowing colors in it and throughout the figures establish movement also suggested by their measured stride. Were it not for the man and the natural setting, one would believe that the horse was a carefully crafted bronze statute gleaming under the lights. In clouds on the other hand, features an unusual transition of light in dust clouds created by the unrestrained subject animal. Together with the surrounding ominous darkness, they deliver explosive energy and movement.
I wholeheartedly recommend that you take the time to get to know her captivating hyperreal work, as through these fine paintings, she has much to share about life, love and true friendship with all of us.

▪ The hyperreal works of Suzana Stojanović (Denis Peterson, internationally recognized first generation hyperrealist painter whose early New Realist genre, Soft Focus Realism, was exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum in New York)

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These are reflective poetic texts, even lyrical-meditative. This kind of literature isn’t articulated enough as a creation. It hasn't been researched enough. Many theories of literature don't even mention it. Suzana Stojanović gives them interesting name, short enigmatic stories. Enigma is their basic idea.
I’ve read them twice. Carefully. I liked them all. The author is self-centered but there is much space for the reader as well. For today’s reader, torn by a busy lifestyle and worries that dramatic time has brought, they can represent a valuable reading material.
Suzana’s got a refined sense for the man of today, for his disturbed soul. He has to be wise in order to find his way in the dark which is brought by the lights of civilization.

I think these lyrical jewels should be published.
It goes without saying that I liked “The Prince and the Beggar” as well. There are some wise teachings in it, including this one, it’s all relative.

▪ It’s all relative (Momčilo Zlatanović, PhD, the professor of literature at the University of Pedagogy and the University of Philosophy; a member of the association of Serbian writers, the Association of scientists and artists of Niš and a permanent member-assistant of Matica Srpska in Novi Sad; the author of a number of books on folk poems, dictionaries, monographs, critiques and a collector of prose folk literature)

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Human nature is enigmatic and mysterious. Even man himself cannot reach its web in the depths, stray and lost thoughts and newborn ideas. Images of dreams emerge and warn, govern and protect. Consciousness exists to set a man straight. “All we have is ourselves, but we aren’t aware of how much we have”, says Suzana Stojanović, a painter and a writer, in one of her stories.
A word, as well as a painting, has its own power. They dignify, talk, warn and whip with that power. Misfortunes are overcome by words as well as harmony is shown through them. Out of the cosmic chaos, a word should come out as a winner, galloping. Suzana’s word on the existence and overpowering the chaos galloped its way out together with her horse paintings. The poetess doesn’t speak long and much. Even with silence she expresses the symphonies of her thoughts on the struggle of good and evil, on faith in the existence and the creation of our own lives, on the silence of solitude.
Faith in the existence is a supreme task that man has to accomplish. The unshakeable faith in the power of art and the wisdom of existence permeates the reflections expressed in one breath and one move. Obsessed both with the eternal struggle against the inhuman in man and sorrow because of the inability to protect our own personality from “nobody” in ourselves, Suzana Stojanović travels, worries, cries for help and warns the reason because “only imagination will go to eternity, taking with itself all of its secrets which have been hidden from ignorance and shortsightedness for centuries”.
The stories before us aren’t stories in literal and theoretical sense. They are more like thoughts on the wisdom of the existence of the real spirit, the balance of mind and body, a man’s desire to win the genuine human sense and true face. Being conscious of ourselves means being conscious of others as well. The struggle for the ideas which strengthen our spirit intertwines within the lines of lyrical prose, thus finding out with certainty the possibilities for a true survival. Suzana regrets the fact that “there are more and more evil men” while knowing that only the one with great heart wins, only the one who helps the lost and a better one, the one who believes in visions and hears the impossible. The winner sleeps inside us and waits for the bells to wake him up.
The imaginary awareness of the world is attached to the realistic one. Running away from the reality as the author sees it and the transmission into the world of imagination allows the author the unlimited freedom which belongs to her only; it protects her from the chaos that threatens to destroy the ultimate labyrinth, the human freedom of mind and spirit. And there, on encountering wonderful and fantastic landscapes and events in the stories, you should open and close the door with caution and fear. Even though the author believes in optimism, fear of the known and especially the unknown awakens her senses, her visions and she yields herself to the infinite word game and its meaning. There is Phoenix, Daedalus and Icarus, “The Prince and the Beggar”, good and evil to block the paths. There’s Suzana’s imagination with which she achieves a greater wisdom and a metaphorical vision of reality. With her paintings and stories she has created the world which is only hers, considering it a better one.

Imagination and faith in the existence (Stana Smiljković, PhD, Dean of the Faculty of Pedagogy and the author of many critiques and textbooks on the methodology of language and literature)

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Serbian riflemen on horseback charge across a plain, under a cloudy sky. A horse in harness races to the finish line, its nostrils distended, mane flying in the wind. A lone horse gambols across a meadow, hooves flying, tail flashing high like a gallant flag, turning in mid-flight with a graceful flow of energy that leaves the earthbound viewer breathless. A thoroughbred, with four white stockings, poses with a regal air, head up, turned toward something or someone unseen. Another horse, sensitive nostrils flaring, looks out from the canvas with soulful eyes, the white blaze on its face like molten lightning frozen in its visage. A lone Serb walks ahead of his horse, leading the animal across a sandy plain, the ornate saddle worn like a badge of honor atop the horse’s back. And, the pair of horses seems to be caught in a sudden flash of light, their affection for one another palpable, exquisite.
In the hands of artist Suzana Stojanović, a picture is not only worth a thousand words, she spends that amount, and more, on some of her paintings. She writes “stories” about the horses she draws and paints, but they are not stories in the traditional sense. They are prose poems, essays on life and love and the energy embodied in the universe of horses. These stories are as beautiful as her paintings, evoking deep feelings and tranquil reflections on what the artist sees and feels.

Suzana is an amazing artist. Not only does she delve into realism, but paints in photorealism and hyperrealism. There is an electromagnetism in the latter forms that vibrates not only in the mind, but in the deepest recesses of the human soul. Her prose poems reflect that same light and intensity but flow so naturally that she achieves a lasting effect as well as a deeper appreciation for both her poetic visions and her art. The complimentary effect embeds both the image and the prose deep into consciousness, giving a kind of mythic structure to her paintings and her prose.

The myth always masks a deeper meaning, a more profound sense of the true, and Suzana’s work achieves that level of intensity. I feel as I pour over her work that she may well be the modern reincarnation of the ancient Gallic goddess, Epona, the goddess of horses. The horse she paints is not Pegasus. It does not have wings. But, beneath the paintings and interwoven into her prose, Pegasus lives and flies. And, when the light is just right, you might see not only one of her horses in a moonlit meadow, but a unicorn in the garden. Such is her power as an artist.


Flying horse (Jory Sherman, the author of “The Ballad of Pinewood Lake”, the winner of a Spur Award from the Western writers of America for “The Medicine Horn” and a nominee for a Pulitzer Prize for “Grass Kingdom”)

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Ladies and gentlemen, I must say that I am glad that the author of these works, Suzana Stojanović, draws portraits of horses, and not, for example, portraits of people. Namely, horses are still better ranked than man, mostly because a man on the horseback is considered to be successful whereas a horse on a man’s back has nothing but problems. A good horse at full gallop leaves dust behind which means that there are more roads to be paved, while people blemish, gossip and envy one another; I’ve almost forgotten about the politicians, they are always related to some affairs. So, poetically speaking, a horse is a magnificent animal which, unfortunately, isn’t in a position to choose its master or its owner. Then there are, of course, “horses with wings”, which obviously went into business with some airway companies. I have often had a chance to sense a slight feeling of helplessness in those who were constantly criticizing hyperrealism because they themselves lacked the artistic skill. In other words, instead of learning first and then giving their opinion about the learned facts, they immediately criticize and by doing so try to hide their own imperfection. However, Suzana Stojanović with her hyperreal paintings captures the scenes at the right moment just in time for all of us to see defiance and pride, might and beauty, gentleness and wisdom. Horses are a heavenly part of humanity. God was merciful to bless us with such beauty. There are fights between roosters, dogs, bulls and people. Fights between horses don’t exist. Horses race in order to win nobly, they jump over hurdles instead of passing them by, and they don’t enter through the backdoor. They go ahead, people lose their way. Unfortunately, horses are being killed, aren’t they? No, you don’t have to answer. It’s all clear to me.

▪ People and horses (Timošenko Milosavljević, journalist, satirist, humorist, critic; longtime editor and chief editor of the National newspapers in Niš; author of several books of satires, stories, drama and monographs)

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As a great lover of horses and their world, as a horse rider, I was astonished by what Suzana’s paintings, her biography and accompanying stories revealed to me. The paintings and that stream of tender reflections illustrate beauty, warmth, nobleness, feelings and intelligence of both her and those miraculous creatures. It’s a unique union of a man and a horse. I know it all too well. It’s hard to achieve it and feel it but that’s exactly what Suzana has managed to do, understanding the depth of a strong, masculine body that gives a sense of power; each vein on the neck that is pulsating; the sincerity of a horse’s eye, no matter what that eye wants to tell us at a certain moment, that it’s in fear, that it is grateful for our breath being united with its widened nostrils, that it’s grateful for a lump of sugar, for given sweetness and love, for bales of hay or oats that it takes as a child takes chocolate. It’s an honest creature. Honesty is hard to find in humans. And once one finds it, they should know how to put that on canvas and into words. “While I’m creating I always believe that someone somewhere far away might touch my soul in some of my paintings, in some of my stories”, says Suzana Stojanović. I would say that she has touched my soul, and other souls as well, understanding them in a particularly subtle way. I’d call her “the ambassador of nobleness”.
Each painting is magnificent, each story is wonderful.
While I’m reading Memories, that subtle and sophisticated story, I feel sad, my throat tightens because that story describes my life, my reflections on memories that are, as she says “the house of treasure”, reflections on my family that doesn’t exist anymore, on all those magnificent everyday things and details that made life with my parents wonderful. They were exceptional parents. And after that, there is a bunch of memories left: the warm, beautiful and cheerful ones, but also the ones that bring pain. All of that Suzana united in a wonderful story, perhaps my favorite, though it’s not fair to isolate any of them from that abundance that represents a true remedy for us, because in each of them I find pieces of the mosaic of my own life.
Her painting, narration, violin playing (because Suzana is an artist in that as well), and her gift gave her the ability to unite it all and make, both for her and us, a step forward, I’d say a step into the world, the same world we all strive for, or at least say we do, but which we demolish and destroy: the world of beautiful things, children and wonderful creatures in the world of animals and fairy tales.
God, bless us with more perfection like this one.

Suzana and her soul (Davorka Vučak, an artist)

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It is not often that Almighty God pours out multiple blessings or talents upon a single person, but it seems that He made an exception with Suzana Stojanović. She has developed the habit of writing a short story to accompany her paintings, and as an American novelist, I would like to focus on those stories.
While the format in which these stories appear (usually as a block or one paragraph) seemed a little awkward, I soon discovered her command of the English language is superb. Most of her writing, exception for her rendition of “The Prince and the Beggar” would be better described as poetry, rather than mere story-telling. The words flow from a deep-rooted emotion that stirs the reader’s imagination. My personal favorite is “We will always be together when the guitar is playing”.
There are many things a writer can do right as well as wrong. Every piece of art or literature is designed to invoke any number of emotions or visions, and many authors mistakenly try telling the art enthusiast or reader what to see or feel. This is a huge mistake, since we all see, taste, love or hate from our own life experiences. Suzana has a knack for writing only enough to allow her fans to experience their own emotions, instead of forcing them to experience her own.
It is worth a few minutes to visit her website, and browse through her art and read the accompanying stories.

While the guitar is playing (Major Mitchell, the author of historical novels and children’s books; a member of The Western Writers of America; a frequent guest speaker at historical meetings and schools on the west coast)