Sunday, January 31, 2010

Susan Sharp’s Biomorphic Mastery

[“Trilogy 1,2,3,” oil on three wood panels. “Rim,” oil on wood panels. “Borderlands,” oil on 15 wood panels.]

Intersections, polarities, continuum, and tension come to life in “Borderlands,” Susan Sharp’s new series of multi-panel paintings being shown at Heidi Cho Gallery through February 6, 2010. Sharp—drawn to paint in its liquid state in which its forms emerge—pours several layers of paint on smooth surfaces such as wood and masonite. In this process, Sharp evokes dense and translucent personal topographies of internal mindscapes.

Tension between organic and biomorphic forms struggling to connect—and the resultant interplay between attraction and repulsion—create a depth and resonance in Sharp’s work. Her seductive colors engage—via transparent veils—in a lyrical pas de deux. Such color-driven passages appear to be informed by meandering rivers and geological formations both real and figurative.

These multi-panel paintings explore infinite spaces of sky and depths of water in varying bands of color in which illusions of far and near arduously navigate borders delineating disparate worlds. As art critic Donald Kuspit has said: “Susan Sharp's abstract paintings are saturated with an indwelling luminosity on which intricately meandering lines spin themselves out, often composing themselves into free-form planes that seem to throb with a life of their own.” Her imagery and juxtapositions grasp patterns of psychology and intuition: The viewer is left to read and absorb an ambiguous back and forth that is as playful as it is impulsive.

With absolute impunity, Sharp manipulates forms, colors, and lines in an emotive—if fragile—entanglement. It functions effectively within these effusive parameters, so loaded with oblique references and metaphorical associations. The way lines convulse and explode in Sharp's work contribute to their meditative and mindful qualities. Their ethereal quality results from their reaction to painting surfaces as well.

Borderlands: Susan Sharp
Through February 6, 2010
@ Heidi Cho Gallery
522 West 23rd Street, NYC 10011

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