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Susan Chrysler White
Panchatantra
Acrylic on paper, 28" x 22½"
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"In this series of paintings, I have explored the use of a bilateral Rorschach-like image. Using enamel and acrylic paints as my primary medium, I create a vocabulary of small organically inspired figures. Presented on a painted field, these emblems are at once anatomical and spiritual as they slip back and forth between references to the body and images of Buddha or the Virgin of Guadalupe. The images also become botanical, insect-like or mutations of some hybrid futuristic organism. These equivocal figures mark the precarious intersection between my intentions and the unique constellation of responses brought to the work by the viewer. The controlling objective for this body of work is to press further into the exploration of the boundaries between the decorative impulse and the much darker, emotional, philosophical sources. Some paintings have a dense, drawn almost woven element that recalls both crocheted materials and a diagrammatic metaphysical drawing, while others have a linear striped motif that becomes an animated matrix or scaffolding.

My painting shares lineage with the current resurgence of vibrant, powerfully colored abstraction in painting, with its historical precedent in the Optical and Pop painting of the sixties and in the Pattern and Decoration movement of roughly the same time. I am interested in embedding potent feminist language in these new paintings that have a clear historical reference to the past.

The paintings also function on another level to reference the act of painting itself. They are executed by pouring and pressing without brushes, yet appear at first glance to be mechanically generated. I am interested in the duality between appearance and process in these pieces.

I am currently in the process of developing a series of large glass and plexiglass sculptural installations. 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. There is an ongoing dialectical thread in the development of my work that resurfaces with the introduction of a more sculptural element. The exploration of light, space, transparency and calligraphic drawing all coalesced into an obvious connection with the chandelier.

- - Susan Chrysler White