m a r k i n g s
m a r k i n g s
"A picture of the soul was a crudely drawn circle of chalk on the blackboard in my first year of parochial school. Any transgressions against God were depicted as small strokes marking the surface. A venial sin, like fibbing, was a small peck. Something more serious like murder, a mortal sin, would fill in the circle with a swirl of lines that would completely blacken the surface. I found the little cartoons of animals that my Father drew were much more interesting. They were something to keep, and I longed to imitate the way they were made. My crayon drawings of circus animals had more soul than that chalk circle.
Animals and nature have been the focus of my work. Animals seem gifted with senses that have never been lost, or guided by voices we will never hear. One drifts along with the noise of the herd unconsciously keeping up and not bumping into things. Painting pulls me out of the lockstep by concentrating my attention on the things I would pass blindly by. Spending some time in the country has brought me in closer contact with the subjects I find most interesting. Teaching an undergraduate class of painting animals at the zoo has helped me articulate the groundwork with which I need to start. The drawing is an integral part of the work. Gold leaf has the effect of "canonizing" the subject.
"They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth." (Henry Beston)"
"Everything has a source. When the order of things eludes us, we often mistake complexity for chaos, and therefore miss the wonderful sources of things.
All things, under close enough observation, will reveal the complete stories of their making. My objects simply reveal themselves much more readily than most, and therefore hope to teach us something about looking.
The spirit of science, of discovery and illumination, is central to my art. Ultimately, everything made is first found.
Yet, for both art and science, successful work must allow others not to simply rediscover what you have discovered, but to make, through the work, their own discoveries. The work then remains alive."
Elevator Shaft Installation
Susan Chrysler White
Yin & Yang,
Kachina (detail) 2010, acrylic and enamel on plexiglass, 14' x 8'
"My Kachinas are two of the first sculptural hanging pieces I have completed that are not site-specific commissioned installations. In these three dimensional pieces I have been researching how my paintings, in my aesthetic vocabulary of excess, have a strong connection with historical and contemporary manifestations of the chandelier. The exploration of light, space, transparency and calligraphic drawing all find a home in these elongated quasi-figural forms. Flat painted plexiglass pieces hang radially, suspended from a central rod, forming dense dimensional environments in which the viewer is both allowed to move around and, in the case of the hanging in the John Davis Carriage House Gallery, will be allowed to view from above and below on different floor levels."
Susan Chrysler White,
Second Floor Carriage House
"My oil paintings explore a territory that suggests fractal structures, circuit boards and urban landscape. The underlying theme in my art is an exploration of how consciousness and identity are shaped by the rhythms of our everyday experience. On a daily basis, the city is a vocabulary of source material: traffic lights, overpasses, billboards, spires, windows, facades and grids, combine to create a large collage. A collage that has contradictions to it. It has a structural, man-made element, but it's unplanned. There are layers of both growth and decay. For example, I might find myself at the same stoplight every day, at a certain time, with a certain light, and I can't help but compose a picture that's subconsciously stored in my memory of that.
At the same time, this process of identifying with my environment breaks down in the studio into a formal vocabulary that is intentionally ambiguous and fragmentary. There's something neurological about my response to this vocabulary during the process of painting. I search for triggers and synapses, as I struggle to define an image. My visual memory of the city is confronted by an approach to materials that is improvisational and painterly.
With line, fragments of form and blocks of color I build compositions that contain a precarious balance of light and dark, architecture and space, gesture and geometry. Improvising off a grid or axis, I see the painting surface as an arena for a dialogue between thought and action, impulse and intent.
The images that emerge are colorful, rhythmic, and tactile."
Second Floor Carriage House
"The de-stabilizing of symmetry, patterns and the expected within a simple or complex composition is what I strive to find and do. It is the 'rupture' within the presumed regularity of a repetitious field that I explore. I deliberately look for these moments to build upon through painting and drawing; layering and exploring color, through dramatic or subtle shifts."
Third Floor Carriage House
"In these new paintings I utilize a range of tools and methods to broaden and vary the expressive possibilities of paint. Working intuitively I develop structure through the painting process, allowing the composition to materialize and dematerialize in an effort to achieve a wholeness in the painting. Improvisation with paint and its' liquid materiality is the driving force behind these works, the result being a lasting visual reminder of the experience of making."
Fourth Floor Carriage House
"I will be showing new vehicles, made expressly for the unusual interior space in the Carriage House at the John Davis Gallery. Made of tinted and painted paper mache, they will hang on walls and stand on the floor, like the wooden vehicles exhibited in 2002 at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. In both color and surface, paper mache echoes the concrete walls of the carriage house."