Matteawan Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Susan English. The exhibition runs through August 21. English’s work has been previously included in Matteawan Gallery exhibitions Elemental in 2014 and The UV Portfolio in 2013.
Susan English’s work is inspired by light, and she is a keen observer of the effects of light in relation to nature and architecture. Her observations are transformed into colors and surfaces in her abstract paintings. English's recent paintings are influenced by the environment around her, whether it be the Hudson Highlands, New York City, or the Maine coast. She writes that “landscapes condense into shapes of color for me: when I look at a mountain across the river I see its blue shadow as a separate solid, a discrete entity. I will try to precisely determine what that color is, its density, its timbre and how I would make and evoke this expression of light and mass.”
The exhibition’s title Pourous Light refers to both the process of creating English’s paintings and also to the idea of putting oneself in the path of light, feeling oneself in the present, and for a moment dissolving ego and self and becoming the thing that one is observing. In our over-stimulated digital age this type of experience is very important to English, who regularly walks in the woods or by the river, immersing herself in the natural world.
English’s paintings have an unusually rich surface texture and color, which is created by pouring layers of tinted polymer on panels. The poured polymer mimics nature: a layer of paint hardens like ice or mud, its thickness and viscosity impacting how the surface dries. Within the surface are small inconsistencies that are like drawings; paint collects and coagulates and cracks are formed. These marks are the result of the process of pouring and letting layers of paint dry, and English embraces the delicate relationship between control and accident. She assembles the poured panels into horizontal or vertical sequences to create a narrative of color, space, and light. The surfaces range from dull to glossy, either absorbing or reflecting the light, existing always in relationship to the light in the room or the position of the viewer. In this way her work relates to Light and Space artists such as James Turrell and Robert Irwin, artists whose work inspires her.
Susan English's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Littlejohn Contemporary, NYC; Theo Ganz Studio, Van Brunt Gallery, Beacon, NY; and Concrete Gallery, Cold Spring, NY. Group exhibitions include Abstraction: New Modernism at Ann Street Gallery in Newburgh, NY in 2013; Currents: Contemporary Abstract Art in the Hudson Valley at the Edward Hopper House Gallery in Nyack, NY in 2012; and Far and Wide at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum in Woodstock, NY in 2012. In September 2016 English will be participating in an artist residency at Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts in Ithaca, NY. She received an MFA from Hunter College in New York City and a BA from Hamilton College, Clinton, NY. She lives and works in Cold Spring, NY.
New York, NY – The presentation of Robert Irwin’s Excursus: Homage to the Square3 (1998–99) at Dia:Beacon will mark the return of the work to public view, approximately fifteen years after its premiere at Dia Center for the Arts in New York City. Beginning on June 1, 2015, audiences will be able to experience Irwin’s “site-conditioned” installation in the museum whose master plan he created. The new installation of Excursus: Homage to the Square3 was developed specifically for Dia:Beacon and will be accompanied by a symposium and a publication.
“Excursus: Homage to the Square3 is one of the most important displays of Irwin’s environmental installations that—through the manipulation of existing architecture—explore physical, sensory, and temporary states,” commented Jessica Morgan, Director, Dia Art Foundation. “It is a great privilege to install this work at Dia:Beacon and return it to public view, highlighting for audiences the unique interconnections between Irwin’s artistic and architectural practices.”
The work began as a site-specific installation titled Prologue: x183 that occupied an entire floor of Dia Center for the Arts, Dia’s former exhibition space in New York City, during the spring of 1998. The piece featured white fluorescent lights that were installed within eighteen cubic chambers and defined by floor-to-ceiling scrims; the windows were covered with custom-fabricated blue-and-gray theatrical gels, providing visitors with a maze-like environment of subtly changing shadows to explore. Months into the installation, Irwin took the opportunity to further incorporate color into the piece by wrapping each set of fluorescent lights in complex combinations of vividly colored gels. This new work was retitled Excursus: Homage to the Square3 and, as its subtitle suggests, the work exemplifies the influence of painting on his practice by invoking the geometric affinities and color relationships adapted from the renowned series by Josef Albers (1888–1976).
The new installation of Excursus: Homage to the Square3 at Dia:Beacon will represent a singular manifestation of Irwin as an artist. Moving from his interior gallery layouts and flow patterns to the architectural interventions evident throughout the building to the landscaped gardens and forecourt that he designed, audiences will have the opportunity to experience an environment in which Irwin has touched virtually every facet.
“Excursus: Homage to the Square3 invites audiences to explore the work of art. What is so unique is that there is no beginning, middle, or end. Audiences can enter the work from a variety of entry points,” said Yasmil Raymond, Curator, Dia Art Foundation. “It has been such an honor to work closely with Irwin, a pioneer of the L.A.-based Light and Space movement of the 1960s, to reconceive this project for Dia:Beacon and create a long-term plan that will allow Dia to share this work with future generations.”
Maintaining Dia’s philosophy of displaying single-artist presentations for extended periods of time, Excursus: Homage to the Square3 be on view at Dia:Beacon for two years.
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