Susan White

There is a basic human tendency to seek order in the current of experience in which we are constantly swimming. There is a variety of languages (scientific, artistic, and spiritual, as well as ordinary discursive) by which we attempt to organize our worlds, and they frequently borrow from one another–thus the richness of metaphor.

Interlocking systems in my compositions allow structures to form and build larger aggregate systems. Densely layered material speaks, hopefully, metaphorically to the layering of meaning. The traces seen through the transparency of the material allude to the passage of time, fracturing and rebuilding of connections, weather maps exploding on our computer screens warning of volatile weather patterns, the instability of global political systems… Accretion and repetition express, in abstract pictorial language, dramatic environmental changes.

I want to explore ideas about climate, weather, history (both art and geopolitical), personal emotional and psychological states, what it means to have relationships, being a mother, the enormity of what it means to be human being. Parched landscapes, extreme flooding and uncontainable wild fires speak to a natural world out of balance.

These paintings also strive to represent interior experience and its transitory connections among ideas and emotional states. How do you show the simultaneity of events, experiences of an unstable environment, an unstable relationship, and deep felt emotional responses in symbolic form? How can I best describe, in abstract language, the loss of a person’s mind and of all the memory that builds a connected life as it becomes incoherent? These are subjects that I am grappling with as my work moves into more poignantly personal terrain.

My pictorial spaces are often flattened, compressed, taut, under tension, a compulsion with pattern, marked by linear chord structures building to a crescendo on the surface, competing for air space, trapped with no exit strategy, all alluding to our relationship with the natural world, as well as to that relationship’s repercussions on the human psyche.