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s u s a nb a nk s

Elu si ona ndR evi si onA

Susan Banks: Elusion and Revision, A Collection of Paintings Paintings have an autonomous existence beyond the artist’s intentions and their meanings change according to context and the interpretations made by different viewers. Nevertheless there are ideas and events that generate the production of the paintings and, in the case of this body of work, the ideas are deeply rooted in cultural theories and mediated by research, itself contingent on chance encounters with the art of the past. Each contributory element is examined and developed but their interactions are intricate and disorderly and, once filtered through feasibility, allow for a creative field from which the paintings are generated. The visual language of the paintings accords with the ideas, which form them, and is also dependent upon the particular presence of the painter. However the painting is an autonomous object and generator of meaning whose language may hint at the artist’s intentions but can only react with each viewer’s reading and expectations. So there is no correct way to read a painting, the viewer may have responses that outdo the artist’s intention. But in spite of the creditable postmodern idea of the independence of the artwork viewers may request the contexts that generated it, before proceeding to their own interpretation. Then the artist might falter at the task of reducing a vast amount of convoluted influences, theories and intentions to a neat and comprehensible statement that would be acceptable to any viewer. Consequently the answer may be a diagram of contributing elements and / or a highly concentrated abstract and both are submitted here. Painting often manifests as visible the unobservable and the invisible, sometimes literally and sometimes as dramatic irony; fundamentally it can deal with the imperceptible. These paintings present visual experiences that do not have equivalents in the “real” world, rather they reference other “unreal” visual experiences, the art of the past, mental imagery and the incipient unseen. An artwork can have a strong attraction even when its subject matter or its narrative is anathema to the particular viewer. Although influenced by such troublesome art of the past these paintings elude the often unwanted or damaging messages of traditional narratives by means of abstraction and play. Thus Echo exercises critical retroactivity and the pool of Narcissus mirrors the imagination of the viewer. Psyche is served by a suggestion of Invisible Spirits rather than voluptuous Baroque nudes. These paintings contain illusions and metaphors but they also can be viewed as decorative surfaces involving repetitive processes, patterns, rhythms and colour progressions that sometimes undermine and elude assumptions about symmetry, depth of field and figure/ground relationships. Susan Banks. August 2011

elusion and revision  

art, artists

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