About the artist

Susan Nalaboff Brilliant is an artist whose work leans into the abstract expressionist tradition with an interest in movement, stillness and the unconscious made visible. Her training in dance, deep interest in visual art, and a scholarship at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center led to an invitation to create posters for a company season in the Diaghilev-Ballet Russe tradition.

Susan graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy Magna Cum Laude from Ithaca College where she studied art with Allen Atwell and dance with Vergio Cornei. Upon moving to New York City she continued taking classes with Isaac Sawyer and Robert Cenedella at the Art Students League while pursuing her career in dance and choreography.

Susan's work has been exhibited at the New York Painters Studio Gallery where she studied with Charles Pasqaulini and was included in group exhibitions at The Art Students League in Manhattan. Her paintings are in several private collections and were included in the Gambino family exhibitions on Long Island. Since moving to San Francisco her work has been featured in several "Open Studios" and she is currently creating new work at her studio in San Francisco's Dogpatch district.

In 2017 a visit to her Open Studio by Jessie Jacob MD led to "Art & Healing", an exhibition of her paintings at the Northern California Women's Imaging Center in Palo Alto. Several of her paintings are now included in the center's permanent collection. In 2018 she became the curator for the center’s ongoing series of art exhibitions.

Art & Healing is a continuing theme for Susan’s work. She graduated from Tamalpa Institute in 2018, a 3 year program inspired by the dance and expressive arts of Ana & Daria Halprin.

This program deepened her art practice with somatic and embodied awareness. She is now a Tamalpa Life/Art Practitioner® and believes that the arts - movement, dance, painting, poetry & writing – open new pathways of expression through each individual’s own life experiences.

On Saturday and Sunday April 27-28, 2019, she presented a Gallery Event "Poiesis" at 1599 Gallery in San Francisco that included her new paintings, collaborations with other artists, videos, music & dance performance and workshops. This event explored the creative process using Tamalpa Life/Art Process® as it’s roots. In October 2019 Susan was invited to participate in Clio Art Fair N.Y.C. In 2021 Susan exhibited her work at John James “The Shop” throughout shelter in place with spices, house paint, wasabi and beets. She also presented three pieces in Rome at Rossocinabro Gallery and one piece in the Cannes/Basel Biennale in 2022.


My process...who I am and how I work goes back to the kitchen table as a young girl growing up on Long Island. Our family discussions - everything from art to politics to food. Art took the lead at the table; I think mostly because my dad's best friend was an art collector, and my dad was fascinated with art history and stories of artists.  It was here at that table that the freedom to speak one's mind was encouraged in me and my brothers.

This intention was filled with the breath of curiosity, wonder, and love. For that I am grateful, and for the gift of seeing ,sensing as an’ eternal beginner’ ; an invaluable lesson harvested amidst the smells and tastes of family dinner.

Yet this was was shadowed and weighted by the history of generations of migrating immigrants. Loss, trauma , fear , fortitude and survival played out in 3 generations as a silent Presence-a seemingly uninvited but recurring guest!

And within micro minutes, what started as a blossoming dialogue turned into chaos ; everyone speaking at the same time and no one could be heard. And as the voices got louder there was the sound of the fist pounding on the glass table for ‘ decorum ‘.

It was at this glass table that never broke , in the sunny kitchen where my mother was stirring something or other, that a YEARNING , a Calling to BE Seen ,Heard ,Witness/ed was emerging.

My passion and commitment to becoming an artist was ignited during those experiences and began to form the backbone of a life of exploration in the arts. dance,..painting, drawing…choreography.

The charcoal seeps through the canvas, the yellow ochre drips, the bones are revealed, age and this life are marked. Handprints are left unscripted. Ancestral footprints walk across the canvas and ghosts collide. I sometimes distort to be more accurate to the truth I see.

I learn by doing.

This is my is sacred play, full of surprises and ever open to the mystery of this life.