Susan M. Moore, 69, of Philadelphia, celebrated artist and longtime professor at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture, died Thursday, September 29, of respiratory failure at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital .
Creative and communicative even as a child, Professor Moore combined her singular skills as an artist and teacher to shape an acclaimed life as a painter and a 39-year career as a popular campus painting and drawing teacher. of Temple in Philadelphia, Rome and Elkins. To park.
Well known for her tightly cropped portraits and images of human backs, Professor Moore’s work features bold colors, lights and shadows, and often combines painting, photography and collage. She said in her artist biography that she embraced “the exploration of the unique tensions that portraiture reveals about the self and the assertion of individuality over the quietude of anonymity”.
Inquirer art critic Victoria Donohoe reviewed Professor Moore’s portraits at a 1989 exhibition in Philadelphia and said, “Echoes of color tones seem to shine from within and seep through the rough-textured ground, giving these large-scale heads a sense of depth, spatially and psychologically”.
Professor Moore has received numerous grants and scholarships for his work and has participated in dozens of exhibitions. His pieces reside in permanent collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, the New York Public Library, and elsewhere.
She joined the faculty of the Temple in 1979, left in 1981 to teach for three years at Washington University in St. Louis, and returned in 1984 to teach at the school’s campuses in Rome, Elkins Park, and Philadelphia until retiring in 2020 Her effusive devotion to her students led a colleague to observe that “her life as a teacher was not just a way to earn a living, it was a complex part of her life”.
Demanding in the classroom but empathetic with the insecurities and uncertainties of youth, Professor Moore instilled confidence by challenging her students. Her deep voice and the insights she shared resonated because she was one of them, and a former student recalled in an online tribute the ‘strangely wonderful skeptical look with which she looked at people’ .
She helped her students find jobs, recruited them to the Rome campus and funded scholarships by creating, organizing and maintaining Little Biennial, a series of exhibitions and sales of miniature works no larger than three inches at Temple University Rome. Former students have called her ‘dedicated and hilarious’, ‘insightful and supportive’ and ‘intensely approachable’ in online tributes.
She often showed up for her 8 a.m. class, one woman said, holding a coffee and fresh from a morning yoga session. A former student said: “I looked up to her as an example of what it meant to be a strong performer, teacher and mother all in one.”
In a tribute, Susan Cahan, Dean of Tyler, said, “She pushed her students, especially the sophomores, to grow in ways they never expected.” Rochelle Toner, Dean Emeritus at Tyler, said, “Susan nurtured, cajoled, encouraged, challenged and celebrated the work of her students in every way.”
Born March 27, 1953, in a Navy hospital in Coco Solo, Panama, Professor Moore and her four siblings traveled with their parents, Gene and Janiece, while her father served in the Navy. She graduated from New Prairie High School in Indiana in 1971 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University at Bloomington and a master’s degree from the University of California at Davis. She also studied at the Yale School of Art and Music.
She married cartoonist Charles Burns in 1982 and did the lettering for his comics and graphic novels. They lived in Jenkintown and the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia and had daughters Rachel and Ava. Social and fun-loving, Professor Moore enjoyed throwing parties, inviting virtually everyone she knew, and was particularly keen to meet new people.
She lived in Texas, Hawaii, California, Indiana and elsewhere before graduating from high school. So she learned to make friends quickly and was a keen observer of people. “It took into account his incredible ability to draw the human figure and capture the essence of the person,” his family said in a tribute.
She collected Italian votive offerings and Mexican masks, and was so good at squash that she beat Senator Arlen Specter in several matches after they met one day on the court. “I love how this story shows how much of a boss she was,” a colleague said.
“His power,” said a former student in a tribute, “we sorely miss him.”
In addition to her husband, daughters and father, Professor Moore is survived by a granddaughter, three sisters, a brother and other relatives.
A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 13 at the Arch Street Friends Meeting House, 320 Arch St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106.
Donations in his name may be made to the Access to Temple Rome Endowed Scholarship, Conwell Hall, 7th Floor, 1801 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122.