The compositions of Susanne Kühn's paintings are tight, compartmentalized and typically feature a solitary female figure that exists in a surreal tangle of architecture and landscape. The women in her paintings are clad in contemporary garb, often avoiding the viewers' gaze. These introspective subjects are seemingly lost in contemplative thought or action, perhaps searching for something out of view from the observer.
These large-scale works are dense with visual content, and tend to combine indoor and outdoor scenery into one comprehensible "backdrop" for her figures and objects. The composition and imagery reference Northern Renaissance etchings and Japanese woodcuts. These crowded depictions of chaotically organized planks of wood, animals, flora, furniture and fine china are offset by large flat planes of color, devoid of legible narrative and more reflective in subject matter. These elements reference European art history while creating a sense of thoughtful, distorted perspective and abstraction.
Melissa Kuntz wrote in Art in America, "One of the most remarkable features of Kühn's work is the way she deftly and seamlessly combines styles borrowed from a cornucopia of visual sources."
Susanne Kühn studied painting and graphic art at Leipzig's School of Visual Arts. After completing her studies, she attended Hunter College and the School of Visual Arts in New York. In 2002 she received a fellowship at Harvard University for the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. Susanne Kühn's work has been shown internationally from New Orleans to Istanbul, and is featured in collections including: Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO (USA), Harvard University's Schwartz Art Collection (USA), Museum Frieder Burda (Germany), The Zabludowicz Collection, London (UK) and Neue Museum für Kunst, Freiburg (Germany). Kühn is a Professor of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nürnberg, Germany, and currently lives and works in Freiburg, Germany.