An Artist’s Pilgrimage: Susan Abbott

September 15 – December 2, 2023


The Zillman is pleased to present a solo exhibition of paintings by Vermont-based artist Susan Abbott. These works document the artist’s walk along the Camino de Santiago from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the French Pyrénées to the Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This two-month long trek, carrying a 16-pound backpack that included sketchbooks, painting supplies and her journal. was a transformative experience for Abbott. The Camino was one of the most important spiritual roads of the Middle Ages leading to the shrine of the apostle James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Today it remains one of the world’s great pilgrimages.  

The immense undertaking of documenting the nearly 600-mile Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) in art reflects the rigor of the walk itself. Abbott’s paintings mirror the Camino’s changing terrain, from mountains to meadows and along rocky trails, dirt paths, and asphalt roads. Abbott’s work is dominated by her bold use of color, injecting each scene with emotion and vitality. The hues and tones used are as unique as Abbott’s interpretation of the landscape that she witnessed. In this exhibition, Abbott invites the viewer to join the expedition and meander through each scene. The paintings are hung in chronological order from right to left so as you walk through the galleries you will follow the same path across Spain as the artist and share some of the journal entries and poems she created while on the Camino. 

“This pilgrimage has given me a heart full of images, emotions, colors, and mysteries. Over the coming years, all of these will find their way into my paintings and my life.”  

Susan Abbott graduated with a BA and MFA in painting from the Maryland Institute, College of Art. She has worked as a professional artist since that time, exhibiting in galleries and museums around the country. 


Susan Abbott painting    Susan Abbott landscape painting


Left: SUSAN ABBOTT (American, born 1951). Camino Day 12: Viana, Navarra, Spain, 2017. Oil on linen. Courtesy of the artist.

Right: SUSAN ABBOTT (American, born 1951). Camino Day 24: Itero De La Vega, Palencia, Spain, 2017. Oil on linen. Courtesy of the artist.