Susan English is inspired by light — the way it refracts on the wind-ruffled surface of the Hudson River, or is absorbed by the shadow of a building, or slices through venetian blinds. By watching light in relation to objects and environments, the artist distills her palette of color for her reductive abstract paintings. In the artist’s words: “Landscapes condense into shapes of color for me: when I look at a mountain across the river I see its blue shadow as a separate solid, a discrete entity. I try to precisely determine what that color is, its density, its timbre in order to evoke this expression of light and mass in my paintings”.
English makes her evocative surfaces of nuanced colors by pouring layers of tinted polymer on wood panel. The poured polymer mimics nature: a layer of paint hardens like ice or mud; the material’s thickness and viscosity informs the finished appearance. Paint coagulates and gathers in the cracks and fissures of the artist’s drawing under the glossy surface, a result of the delicate and flexible relationship between control and accident. The painted surfaces range from matte to glossy, alternatively absorbing or reflecting light in response to the available illumination and the position of the viewer. Ultimately, the panels are choreographed into horizontal or vertical sequences to create a narrative of color, space, and light.
Susan English's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions throughout the United Sates. English received a fellowship at the Saltenstall Foundation for the Arts, Ithaca, NY and was artist in residency at Habitat for Artists, Garrison, NY. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Chronogram, Abstract Art Online and the Philadelphia Inquirer, to name a few. English earned an MFA from Hunter College, New York, NY and BA from Hamilton College, Clinton, NY. She lives and works in Cold Spring, NY.