Susan English : Periphery

28 March - 4 May 2019

Periphery is defined as the outer limit or edge of a place or an object, an area lying beyond the strict limit of a thing. The word implies an inside and an outside, a dropping off point, a point beyond which one can go no further. I am drawn to expansive spaces where the horizon is an edge or periphery, where I begin to sense the potential of dropping off that edge, an edge that might be perceived only indirectly or unconsciously. These ideas of space, boundaries, and perception are at the core of my current body of work. 

 

My color choices represent an intersection of the inside and the outside. Often a color idea comes from an experience of a place or moment in time. As a point of departure, this enters the internal world of a painting and begins a life of its own. Inside the highly charged relational realm of color, my responses and choices are visual, emotional and intuitive. I play with the phenomenon of a color at the limit of itself.  How far can green be pushed before it becomes blue? How many infinite directions can you push a brown or a gray or a white? In this peripheral area of color, colors hum in multiple ways like a harmony contained in a single note. There are many clichés about the emotions colors represent but for me a color can communicate in all kinds of way and any one color, say red, can be joyous, morose, bloody, angry, buoyant and so on. As William Gass says in On Being Blue; “the sense of vibrancy, feeling and vision, we take away from any work is the result of the intermingling, balance, play and antagonism between colors. It is the arrangement of blues, not any blue itself which lets us see the mood it formulates…” 

 

I am intrigued by what is on the edge of human perception, where known meets unknown. What surrounds me inevitably makes its way into my work—whether it be the particular quality of light on any given day, the dominant colors of a season, or simply memories of a place existing in the periphery of my consciousness.