Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to announce an upcoming solo exhibition of new paintings by Susan English. “Light to Light” will be English’s third solo exhibition with the gallery.
English’s work develops in relation to light - it is informed by her exposure to it, the occurrence within the work, and the oscillation between them. Spending time in Maine, the Hudson Highlands, and on walks in nature helps source the light experience which translates into paintings. “Light also generates from the work as the paintings absorb, reflect and relate to light in the room. A title with a doubling of the word light felt both compelling and visually beautiful,” she says.
The title of the show is inspired by a passage in T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets:
“... After the kingfisher's wing
Has answered light to light, and is silent, the light is still
At the still point of the turning world.”
English interprets this part of the poem as “describing a moment of light phenomenon and culminating in the meditation.” “My paintings are an answer to my own light experience,” English says. “The noticing and awareness of subtle and not so subtle light shifts in the landscape and built environment and the way natural light manifests in my studio are a primary content of my work - creating light from light.”
Putting oneself in the path of light is important to English. She views this as something that cannot be controlled, but something that needs space to occur - much like her process. Her process involves pouring tinted polymer in thin layers, over panel or Yupo paper, and slightly angling the work so that the pigment moves and settles in the polymer. From there, she waits 24 hours to learn the true color of the polymer after it dries - an exercise in patience that borders meditation. This is then repeated with each layer, as she intuitively builds them up. As she’s said before, “quite honestly, in the pouring process I am attempting to control as much as possible, but when I get too good at it, it might become boring! Accidents are the spice of life here!”
English holds an MFA from Hunter College, and has held solo exhibitions across New York state, Connecticut, and California since 2001. She was awarded the NYSS Mercedes Matter Award in 2020, and has completed several fellowships and residencies throughout her career. She lives and works in Cold Spring, NY.