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international painting annual 3 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Susan Cantrick
Paris, France

detail image


My work explores painting as an articulate, sensual instrument of non-verbal thinking -- a mode of perceptual inquiry rather than of narration, conceptual depiction, or critique.

Painting sets up a fascinating relationship between its complex conditions -- flat but potentially illusionistic surface, sensual medium, no words -- and the human intelligence that occupies them. As a painter interested in a non-mimetic engagement with these conditions, I situate myself at the threshold of linguistic intelligence, where sensation, emotion, memory, and intuition mingle on the verge of cognition. In this space -- between sensing and saying ˆ fleeting, dualistic perceptions nevertheless cohere, becoming the source of what I consider my paintings to be: material analogs of perceptual experience. Ambiguity and clarity, doubt and certitude, free play and control, presence and absence, immediacy and duration, expansion and compression, difference and similarity, desire and detachment, fragility and strength, mind and body -- the list is not exhaustive -- are referenced in a network of organic and geometric codes intended to foreground the hybrid nature of the perceptual ebb and flow. At the core of my endeavor is the conviction that painting has enduring value as a unique material index of an otherwise ephemeral phenomenon, perceptual reality. This conviction, like my painting, folds romantic, classical, and modernist values into the contemporary, anti-utopian artistic melting pot: it is based in the desire to paint, and it seeks lucidity within diversity, but it stakes no claim to the ideal.

Like its mute cousin music, painting has the capacity to project great clarity without words ˆ a clarity that is distinct from certitude, which seems to have no place in today‚s artistic endeavor. Being committed to such clarity has led me to experiment freely with diverse techniques and media, a hybrid practice favoring a stylistic eclecticism that can belie its coherent underpinnings. For the last several years, I have been painting from digital studies that are generated from fragments of my own previous work. The result resembles a gamut of genealogies -- paintings linked one to another by at least one element of a preceding painting, similar to evolution via genetic recombination -- or the earth‚s geological layering. This process, a dynamic equilibrium in which chance and artifice are equal players, keeps my work open-ended while satisfying a need for structure and the rigors of problem solving. Its essence is renewal via the recycling of energy and identity from one context to another, and the work conveys, I hope, a sense of live matter in constant flux.



born: Oberlin, Ohio


Peabody Conservatory of Music, M.M., 1983
Bennington College, B.A., 1974

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Recent Work, Combes Gallery, American University of Paris, Paris, France, January 24 - February 12, 2013
"ponge.pebble.paint," French Cultural Center, Boston, MA, March 2012
"the eye goes 'after' ", American Library in Paris, France,  2007
"Daily Bred," WICE, Paris, France, 2000

selected group shows

Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris, France, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Salon des Artistes du Val de Marne, France, 2010
"5x7" Bennington College, Bennington, VT, USA, 2010
Art en Capital, Paris, France, 2008


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