Sue Arrowsmith (b. 1968, Manchester, UK) has lived and worked in London since graduating from Goldsmiths College in 1990. Using figurative sources, her paintings disclose the linear structure of the landscape through intensely detailed abstract shapes and the more familiar forms of the land. She projects her photographs taken of flora and foliage, and then meticulously records and traces, building a densely interweaving mass of lines that flicker and undulate across the pictorial plane.
‘Sue Arrowsmith's work has long been rooted in the formal qualities of abstraction and temporality, refracted through the natural world. However, in her new body of work there's another force at play. Her source material remains photographic - images she has taken of tree forms and leaf clusters, branches of blossom and weeping willows - but now she is allowing the connection between photograph and painted translation to be far freer as she strives to capture the essence of form and not just its outline. These paintings are like haikus to the world she observes on regular walks, whether in London - where she lives and works - or further afield. The tension between abstract form and nature in her work remains taut as a bow string but the work's presence has been enriched by her growing belief in innate expression and her more experimental approach to materiality.
Increasingly, Arrowsmith has been drawn to paint in metallic ink. She prepares the ink herself creating small pools of liquid gold and bronze by diligently grinding sticks of Japanese sumi ink. Her ongoing experimentation with materiality has allowed her to develop a way to turn solid metal into a malleable and fluid material (rather than relying on the traditional wafer-thin sheets of gold leaf). She brings out its mercurial nature and its earthiness’. (Charlotte Mullins)