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New exhibit at Galería Atenea

By Susan C. White

In my recent paintings, I explore 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.

Susan Chrysler White’s paintings
Sat, Jul 13, 6pm
Galería Atenea
Jesús 2

My paintings share lineage with the current resurgence of vibrant, powerfully colored abstraction in painting, with its historical precedent in the Optical and Pop painting of the 1960s and in the Pattern and Decoration movement of roughly the same time. I am interested in imbedding potent feminist language in these new paintings that have clear historical references to the past.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 see an affinity with Hispanic Culture, which provides a major influence on my vibrant palette. During my time living in Mexico, I worked with a community of Chichimeca Indian women to develop artists’ cooperatives where they created brightly colored narrative tapestries to sell through the native craft industry to gain financial independence.

I regularly exhibit in New York at Kenise Barnes Gallery, John Davis Gallery, Littlejohn Contemporary and Kim Foster Gallery where I have an upcoming exhibition opening September 5 in Chelsea, New York. I am also represented by the Olson-Larsen Gallery in Des Moines, Iowa, and the Hudson River Gallery in Iowa City where I live and teach at the University of Iowa, School of Art and Art History.


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