Matteawan Gallery is pleased to present Only Mark the Bright Hours, a solo exhibition of recent work by Susan Walsh featuring drawing, photography, and sculpture. This is Walsh’s second solo show at the gallery. Her work was also included in the group exhibitions Timelines in 2013 and The Flat File Show in 2016. There will be a reception for the artist on Saturday, February 18 from 6-8 pm.
Susan Walsh explores light, time, place, and memory through a variety of mediums. She is a keen observer of her environment, and her work is a response to the changes she notices in sunlight and other natural phenomena. Walsh’s earliest series in the show is Marking Time, which uses photography to record shadows cast by thread on her studio table in the bright winter sun. The resulting images resemble drawings more than photographs and Walsh prints them on drawing paper to enhance this effect. More than simply capturing shadows on paper these works depict a specific place and a moment in time when the sinking sun creates long shadows. These “drawings” can only be made from January to March.
Inspired by the Marking Time series, Walsh has experimented with other ways to combine light and shadow in her work. Only the Sun Can Prove That I Am Useful is an ongoing series of sculptures on wood panel with paint, graphite, and nails that loosely reference early sundials. These works contain multiple nail pointers, or gnomons, placed in different directions. Some works reference visits to DIA: Beacon in which Walsh has noted the GPS coordinates of her travels between favorite artists’ works. The nails are the beginning and end points as she traces her steps in the museum with winding lines of graphite. Walsh photographs the panels and prints one version of each on drawing paper. Her photographs capture a specific moment in time when sunlight hits the nails and creates shadows that merge with her graphite drawings. Walsh plays with our perceptions of two and three-dimensional space by photographing objects that look like lines drawn on paper.
For the past year Walsh has been experimenting with a new process. In the Wave Drawing series she draws a straight line of gouache across the center of a piece of paper and holds it down in shallow water on the shore of the ocean to let the waves wash over it. In these works the perpetual motion of waves records her location and a specific moment in time. Each drawing is different because of the distinctive nature of the body of water itself, from the clarity of the water to the force of the waves. Walsh says of this work: “While each wave marks its particular existence through its contact with the materials, the series as a whole conveys the eternal breath of the tide.”
Walsh’s most recent works are sculptural panels painted in rich colors that combine graphite line drawings, nails, and thread. In the Untethered Drawings white threads emerge from a dark blue field and cast very little shadow. For Walsh, this work references one’s internal time, “the floating time, in the middle of the night, when one wakes up and instinctively guesses actual time.” In Only Mark the Bright Hours Walsh refers to the sundial, this time with thread and graphite on wood panels painted bright yellow. The straight graphite lines contrast with loose linear thread lines. The thread shadow lines create a constant energy and remind us of the incremental changes in our landscape caused by sunlight.
Susan Walsh has exhibited throughout the US and in France. Her work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Center for Digital Arts, Peekskill in 2015. In 2016 her work was included in group exhibitions at Artspace, New Haven, CT; Silvermine Art Center, New Canaan, CT; Schema Projects, Brooklyn, NY, and Matteawan Gallery, Beacon, NY. In 2014 she had a solo show at Matteawan Gallery and her work was featured in the Aqua Art Fair in Miami, FL. She has been included in group shows at the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY: Plan B Evolving Arts in Santa Fe, NM; Northern Illinois University Art Museum, Dekalb, Illinois; the Garrison Art Center, Garrison, NY; KUBE, and Bau Gallery, Beacon, NY. In 2013, she was a resident artist at DRAWinternational in Caylus, France, where she created a site-specific installation. Walsh received an MFA from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a BA from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL. She lives in Beacon, NY.
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New York, NY – The presentation of Robert Irwin’s Excursus: Homage to the Square3 (1998–99) at Dia:Beacon will mark the return of the work to public view, approximately fifteen years after its premiere at Dia Center for the Arts in New York City. Beginning on June 1, 2015, audiences will be able to experience Irwin’s “site-conditioned” installation in the museum whose master plan he created. The new installation of Excursus: Homage to the Square3 was developed specifically for Dia:Beacon and will be accompanied by a symposium and a publication.
“Excursus: Homage to the Square3 is one of the most important displays of Irwin’s environmental installations that—through the manipulation of existing architecture—explore physical, sensory, and temporary states,” commented Jessica Morgan, Director, Dia Art Foundation. “It is a great privilege to install this work at Dia:Beacon and return it to public view, highlighting for audiences the unique interconnections between Irwin’s artistic and architectural practices.”
The work began as a site-specific installation titled Prologue: x183 that occupied an entire floor of Dia Center for the Arts, Dia’s former exhibition space in New York City, during the spring of 1998. The piece featured white fluorescent lights that were installed within eighteen cubic chambers and defined by floor-to-ceiling scrims; the windows were covered with custom-fabricated blue-and-gray theatrical gels, providing visitors with a maze-like environment of subtly changing shadows to explore. Months into the installation, Irwin took the opportunity to further incorporate color into the piece by wrapping each set of fluorescent lights in complex combinations of vividly colored gels. This new work was retitled Excursus: Homage to the Square3 and, as its subtitle suggests, the work exemplifies the influence of painting on his practice by invoking the geometric affinities and color relationships adapted from the renowned series by Josef Albers (1888–1976).
The new installation of Excursus: Homage to the Square3 at Dia:Beacon will represent a singular manifestation of Irwin as an artist. Moving from his interior gallery layouts and flow patterns to the architectural interventions evident throughout the building to the landscaped gardens and forecourt that he designed, audiences will have the opportunity to experience an environment in which Irwin has touched virtually every facet.
“Excursus: Homage to the Square3 invites audiences to explore the work of art. What is so unique is that there is no beginning, middle, or end. Audiences can enter the work from a variety of entry points,” said Yasmil Raymond, Curator, Dia Art Foundation. “It has been such an honor to work closely with Irwin, a pioneer of the L.A.-based Light and Space movement of the 1960s, to reconceive this project for Dia:Beacon and create a long-term plan that will allow Dia to share this work with future generations.”
Maintaining Dia’s philosophy of displaying single-artist presentations for extended periods of time, Excursus: Homage to the Square3 be on view at Dia:Beacon for two years.
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