Susan English (’16): Playing With Order

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Saltonstall is painter Susan English‘s first residency, and she’s been relishing her time in the studio. “I think it’s going to be hard to go back to reality,” she says, smiling.

She has spent most of her residency creating new work. “This is quite different for me, in terms of simplicity,” she says, referring to three, two-panel works hanging on the wall. (Her most recent body of work, “Vertical Landscapes” includes long, horizontal pieces comprised of multiple vertical sections.) “I’m interested in creating very specific color relationships,” she explains.

Susan’s method of painting is unusual in that there’s no intervention with the paint — no gesture, no paintbrush. Instead, Susan pours multiple, thin, translucent layers of tinted acrylic medium onto panels and allows them to dry. Since each panel is an individually-poured painting in itself, Susan’s process is more focussed on the physical construction of each piece. “They’re sculptural in a way,” she explains, showing how panels can be taken apart and rearranged. (Seen in the photos above.) “Part of my process is playing with the order. And there’s also a fun element of surprise and accident,” she explains, referring to the sometimes unpredictable way a new paint color will dry.