Exhibition 3rd - 28th May 2016
The Portico Library
57 Mosley Street
Gunn’s paintings combine historical techniques and materials with contemporary concepts in a subtle yet structured approach. She was mentored by Turner Prize nominee Callum Innes and has previously received awards and commissions from The Sovereign European Art Foundation, Arts Council England, Escalator and the University of East Anglia. Exhibiting for the first time in Manchester at the Portico Library, her solo exhibition of selected works are in response to The Portico Library’s unique collection. She is currently working from her project space in conjunction with Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Spaces initiative.
Gunn makes work using a range of natural earth pigments and a traditional gelatine binder that are imbued with beeswax and linseed. The layers of traditionally made gesso are made to provoke differing degrees of trauma within the surface; a natural process that is beyond the final control of the artist. Cracks appearing on a newly made gesso ground are rendered ‘defects’ and ‘highly undesirable’ according to the renowned art historian Ralph Mayer. Gunn welcomes these scars in the surfaces as the subject of her creativity and embraces the flaws as distinguishing characteristics and a metaphor for time, environment and humanity. The original source for Mayer was the artist, writer, and first director of the national Gallery, Sir Charles Eastlake. The book, Materials for a History of Oil Painting was written following his extensive travels in Europe during the 1800’s and is part of the Portico Library Collection.
“On reading Eastlake’s work, particularly referencing gesso grounds and techniques in oil painting I was struck by a common pre-occupation with correctness, longevity and process, although in many ways my painting subverts this ideal I am nevertheless concerned with procedure, truth, and stability.” Susan Gunn
Each painting is unique and a creation of itself and thus suggests a freezing in time of the otherwise momentary arrest of an ongoing process.
The Portico Library
Monday & Friday 9.30-16.30
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9.30-17.30