Anthony Surratt is a mixed-media abstract artist. While he adds multiple layers of paint, paper, and other material to his paintings and assemblages, it is frequently via methods of subtraction and excavation—sanding, scraping, gouging, sawing, and digging—that their ultimate meanings emerge.
Surratt’s paintings have been exhibited throughout New England and Georgia and in online exhibitions. He is an active volunteer and artist member of Southern Vermont Arts Center and serves on the board of directors of Green Mountain Academy for Lifelong Learning, in Manchester, Vermont.
He currently is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree at Maine College of Art & Design in Portland and is a candidate for graduation in May 2023. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, and a certificate in interior design from Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Before becoming a full-time artist, Surratt worked in corporate communications for more than 25 years, including at Cox Communications in Atlanta and Time Warner Cable in NYC. He resides in southern Vermont.
My mother still laughs about how much she dreaded shopping with me when I was a child because I touched and picked up everything in the store, examined it, felt it, and occasionally broke it. Clearly, there was a strong pull of the tactile in me from an early age, and that instinct still drives me and my art practice all these decades later. I am obsessed with the texture and tactility of my materials. While my works are not interactive per se, I nevertheless want viewers to want to touch these paintings and assemblages, experience their palpable textures, and peer into the depth of their many layers.
My work explores the interplay of disparate layers of paint, paper, textiles, and other materials that have been built up and excavated, layer by layer, to reveal hidden fragments and surprise juxtapositions of previously separated and unrelated materials that now exist in unison. These layers form a cohesive whole out of disparate materials—including the dug-up, the leftover, the castoff, the repurposed, the reused, the recycled, the reconsidered, and the pulled-from-the-trash.
This painting is in part an homage to archaeology: The well-earned payoff of discovering buried artifacts; the careful separation of one piece of material from another; the odd collection of forms that accumulate as I keep digging and finding. It is also about bridging dichotomies and searching for balance: A balance between construction and deconstruction; between addition and subtraction; accumulation and reductionism; order and chaos; new and old; treasure and trash; freedom and constraint; and between discovered and discarded.