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Gesso: Susan Gunn

PUBLISHED: 12:41 18 September 2003 | UPDATED: 15:17 22 October 2010

This solo exhibition sees Susan making a bold foray into colour, unashamedly using vivid orange in the work 'Malabar' to clamour for the attention of passers-by.

This solo exhibition sees Susan making a bold foray into colour, unashamedly using vivid orange in the work 'Malabar' to clamour for the attention of passers-by. My advice is to allow yourself to be lured in and buy from this promising undergraduate before prices soar as the Bryan Gunn publicity machine kicks in.

Her self-confessed interest in conveying artistic labour, by constructing the picture plane with an average of twenty layers of gesso, is most evident in 'Memoir'. Earth pigments, oils and wax are built up and polished to produce a marble-like surface, with exposure of each application to emphasise the toil of workmanship. Heavily worked surfaces dominate, reminiscent of the patina of old worn Chesterfields, into which you are invited to sink visually.

But many of the paintings on display also reveal a new concern — the contrast of restraint and release.

Having planned the geometric scheme and laboriously worked the surface, Susan then takes a leap of faith with a final layer of random drip effects.

Allowing the paint to choose its own gravity-assisted path creates an interesting surface tension, which works best with darker pigments.

The process is an expressive departure from her previous style.

The Dark Mirror Gallery is at 68 King Street, Norwich, open Tuesday to Fridays, 11am-4pm. Susan Gunn's exhibition continues runs to October 3.

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