Sue Arrowsmith: Whisper from the Shadows

2 - 31 October 2015

Light reverberates through Sue Arrowsmith's studio. It pours through the roof lights and fills the white walled space with its energy. On the walls, her paintings glisten. White on black, black on white, black on black: they are the colours of the presence and absence of light. Light is instrumental to Sue Arrowsmith's paintings. They start with the reflection of light through a camera lens that traps a fleeting spatter of leaves. She excludes all daylight from her studio to allow the image to travel through the cone of light from her projector to the canvas. And here, working in the dark, she translates the colour figures into graceful, monochrome marks; the summation or negation of light.


The shadow of her hand drowns the other forms around it as she works. Each mark is a separate, complete gesture, crystallising the forms of coloured light that kiss the canvas. The twenty-first century is the age of images. They proliferate, often as images of images, removes of experience that we decode from a seamless surface of pixels. And painting which was once a meditation on an image is increasingly a form of mediation of an image as well. From her capture of an image, Sue Arrowsmith works with conceptual rigour to break it down into her own expressive marks and gestures and rebuilds it, tying it to the picture plane through her articulation of negative space. She condenses and expands the time contained in the image from the moment of its capture, the days of its making; the swift all over survey of the work that takes seconds, the change in gear to the long study of separate marks and a gradual comprehension of the whole as ideas build in the mind of the viewer. The silence of the monochrome is broken here by the riffs between artist and image that bring different orders of information together for our consideration and delight. (Sarah Shalgosky, Curator Mead Gallery, University of Warwick)