Monday, December 3, 2018

Seizing the Fugitive Moment

"Open Door" by Sue Collier

"Woman in the Hallway" by Sue Collier

"Couple on a Bench" by Sue Collier

"Couple on a Swing" by Sue Collier

"Odyssey" by Sarah Schuster

"Shallow Waters" by Sarah Schuster

"The Lovliest of What I Left Behind" by Sarah Schuster

"Below the Surface" by Sarah Schuster
Seizing the Fugitive Moment

By Tom Wachunas

“To see we must forget the name of the thing we are looking at.”
- Claude Monet

EXHIBIT: RECENT WORK by Sue Collier and Sarah Schuster, at The Lemmon Gallery, located inside the Kent Stark Fine Arts Building, 6000 Frank Avenue, North Canton, Ohio / THROUGH Dec. 7, 2018 / Gallery viewing hours are Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday 11 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  

   Mea maxima culpa. With just four days remaining to see this superb exhibit, I can only offer yet another abject apology for such a late posting. It is nonetheless very worth your time to plan a visit before 5 p.m. on December 7. 

   Most of Sue Collier’s oil paintings in this exhibit were painted en plain air – on site, outdoors. A few others are scenes of interiors. With all of them, I had the sensation of being present in an intensely personal moment - hers and mine. At times I felt like I was standing right next to her as she labored to grasp something fleeting, to make the ephemeral somehow permanent and solid. Her memories of, or encounters with, her subjects, whether foliate or figurative, became my now.

   There’s a tangible vitality and intimacy to all her images. They aren’t polished and static, but rather dynamic. The images pulse and breathe, appearing to actually move through the picture plane with a visceral, all-at-once immediacy. The brush strokes have a heartbeat. Suffused as they are with the sensual tactility of generously applied paint, there’s the uncanny sense that it’s not Collier’s eyes alone that are doing the seeing. Her act of looking is a concordance, a concert of responses to perceived relationships. Eyes, hand, and brush are caught up in a beautiful, seemingly still-evolving dialogue - an intuitive harmony of staccato and lusciously protracted markings. Most of the works are imbued with singularly enchanting tonalities of light, as if spontaneously, even urgently painted before something changes, or departs altogether.

    While Collier’s expressive, ornate abstractions maintain substantial connections to the recognizable, natural world, most of Sarah Schuster’s entries here are comparatively non-objective and enigmatic in nature. That said, they’re a collectively intriguing complement to Collier’s specificity. And they’re no less compelling or real in their palpable sensation (especially in her very large-scale canvases) of motion either imminent or indefinitely suspended. Her palette is bold to the point of being electric, giving the works a wildly decorative and celebratory spirit.

   What’s being celebrated? Spatial ambiguity, evanescence, explosive transience. The anti-gravitational architecture of uncertainty. Patterns and organic forms are in flux, floating on tenuous grounds both liquid and atmospheric. In one series of smaller paintings, color fields comprised of accumulated wispy lines and specks of paint reach a central crescendo, clustered into a gorgeous, flickering luminescence. 
    In the really big paintings, those hair-thin lines have become tangles of thicker squiggles and swoops, looping back and forth as if they were a map of  meandering roads that lead to nowhere in particular. After all, the moment of looking is its own destination. Carpe diem.    

1 comment:

Professor Greg said...

With all due respect, I believe you have attributed the quote to the wrong Frenchman! I think it was Paul Valerie who said “Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing you see,” not Monet.