Buried in the dirt, drowned in the river

“Heaven of the Milk Tree” by Susan Preston, mixed media and collage, 2010.

“Heaven of the Milk Tree” by Susan Preston, mixed media and collage, 2010.

Where: B. Sakata Garo, 923 20th Street; (916) 447-4276; www.bsakatagaro.com.
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, noon-6 p.m.
Second Saturday reception: August 13, 6-9 p.m. Through September 3.

B. Sakata Garo

923 20th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 447-4276

Susan Preston sometimes buries her paintings in the black dirt near her studio. Or she submerges them in a nearby creek bed, weighing them down under mossy rocks. But when worry gets the best of her, she returns to recover them.

Preston—who earned a master’s degree in painting at Mills College and is a resident of Healdsburg—creates work that resurrects memories of Native American myths with their simplicity and earthiness. And the birth of her mixed-media pieces sounds as storied as the narratives within the paintings themselves, which depict fables of life and death, nuture and nature. For instance, the squares that comprise the negative space in her work look distressed, full of subtleties with the “foil that glints out from under,” are discarded wrappers that she collected in the streets of India more than a decade ago.

In Preston’s artwork, it’s not just what one sees that’s intriguing, it’s what’s beneath the surface that allures.