Suzan Woodruff: "Echo Maker"
Art LTD, January 2014
Beneath the acrylic veneer of Suzan Woodruff's paintings there is a palpable tension where the expert handling of the medium conceals the weight of the subject. The delicate handling of lush and luminous brushstrokes mimics the intricacies of an abalone shell. The algorithm of the universe seems to be contained within each canvas. The dominant colors of the earth are represented from ebony, the sapphire of oceanic depths, to the golden flames of fallen stars to mountainous green and brown hues. Yet in most of this current body of work, a stark contrast between dark and light predominates. Despite the shifting atmospheric tones there remains a constant variable in each work, and that is the scientific examination of the surface. Woodruff's attention to detail reveals the depth of her desire to explore and discover the mystery of each square inch of canvas. The paintings are marked by a rich pearl texture that peaks and falls with an orchestral cadence that is both subtle and dynamic; its nebulous forms evince a cyclonic momentum. Observing them, the eye falls into a trance and we become lost in the rhythm of the paintings. This trance, however, temporarily delays our realization that the beauty of "Echo Maker" is not just the sweeping surfaces but also the melancholic atmosphere represented.
In Black Ice (2013), a cascading pearl light attempts to break free from the shadow that surrounds it. The dichotomous dark and light colors fight against each other so that we cannot determine if we are in the wake of a magnificent apocalypse or if we are midst of a cataclysmic change. The intensity of the incandescent pearl grows more intense in the middle of the composition but does the light continue or will it recede into darkness? In "Echo Maker," the viewer surrenders to the artist's perspective of the environment--are we looking at a landscape from above at a great distance? Or are we a part of the abstraction? Woodruff carefully obscures our sense of time. Are we witness to the memento mori or the aftermath of an earthly destruction? Either way, the "echo" presented in these works is visceral, devastating and beautiful.