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2013 longing for energy - tempera on canvas - susan richter

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Comment by Resident Curator on April 28, 2014 at 8:47pm

Curator’s Comments:


Longing for Energy is an interesting painting; playful in color and spirit, but hypnotic in its spiraling vortex.  The squiggled multi-colored lines approximate handwriting, but it’s basically incomprehensible as part of the overall viewing experience.   I especially like the ladder form which, simply constructed, interrupts what would otherwise be strong radial symmetry through the spiraling directional movement of the piece.  The ladder lines also open up the space, and seem to loosen the density of the fading writing.   The roughly circular splotches of high chroma yellow and red also attract attention away from the strong gesture, and are seen as negation of text- literally blocking out words- or alternately punctuating important phrases.  From a more representational framework they could be read as eggs in a spiraled nest.   The adjacent tempera painting on linen contains some of the same poetic scribbled lines, despite a very different density and compositional arrangement in its color field.  The warm ochre and muted orange-brown coloration is a pleasing substrate to the chalky white rectangular center piece. I’m tempted to view these shape relationships as handwriting on a white page, etc.  While abstraction and non-objectivity often evoke more representational images, there is something profoundly familiar about these elements and therefore unsettling in their ultimate lack of recognition.  I quite enjoy that these paintings evoke a keenly acknowledged presence, and therefore compel emotional dissonance.

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