"...EXCEPTIONAL, UNIQUE STYLE"
SOLO EXHIBITION AT NU MU: SACRO TERRA - SUSAN GUNN
This solo show includes work commissioned for Stay, part of the Arts Council England, East 'Escalator' initiative that supports the finest regional talent. And such recognition at this early stage of Susan Gunn's career indicates that her emerging style is not only unique, it is exceptional.
Gunn's sensitivity of touch is best illustrated in the sublime monochromatic pieces Specto Specus I & II. These intensely rich canvases literally stop you in your tracks, they absorb you, drawing you into their exhilarating presence. Gunn's technique flaunts contradictions; for example the substance 'gesso' is also the subject, her signature surface is achieved by controlled chance during the drying process and the result is a robust fragility that impresses on a grand scale but translates equally to the more diminutive pieces.
The surface of Ground I, a subtly modulated tripartite composition, exemplifies Gunn's intuitive understanding of balance. The surface sections have been disrupted with varying degrees of intensity to achieve an effect thatfluctuates from venous striations to delicate organic fissures reminiscent of parched earth. The varied tonality, from metallicised to opaquely impenetrable, means that light is both reflected and absorbed, thus the viewer experiences differing visual sensations.
In terms of a developing artistic practice, Sacro Terra is particularly interesting. Paring away at the limestone patina of the canvas, Gunn pushes her chosen medium to the extreme, taking agonising decisions to deconstruct the painstakingly worked up surface. The success of this piece is ultimately based on destruction, a perilous process that tests her innate creative control.
The collective effect of these monumental pieces is profound. Not only do they resonate on an instinctive level, being the primordial colours of life, but they possess a universal spirituality; purporting nothing yet encapsulating everything.
BY HEIDI HADLEY FOR THE EASTERN DAILY PRESS 24.09.05