The motifs in Susan Absolon’s paintings are hard to pin down. They avoid declaring their origin or context, and sit somewhere on the path between the figurative and the abstract. Her fluency is in making paintings that can’t be attached to either label; they can elicit a strong visceral response. A love for the material qualities of paint and working with colour, and a fascination with semantics and the slippery interplay between visual and verbal language, guide her working process. Different types of picture are allowed to emerge, sometimes in series that evolve over a long period of time. The dynamics of visual uncertainty and the associative process of thinking are brought together in her work. Titles are carefully selected, sometimes from an archive of words and phrases collected from diverse oral or written sources, sometimes spontaneously in response to the finished painting. A title is material, as much a substance as the paint itself; it can steer or tease, clarify or call into question what is being seen. Sometimes her paintings merge a personal narrative with an unconnected social or political one. The viewer may not be conscious of either though, as the act of painting consumes both source and subject, allowing a new thing to grow.
Susan was awarded the Contemporary British Painting Prize in 2021. She is a languages graduate of University College London, has a degree in painting from WSCAD, Farnham, and took postgraduate studies at Central Saint Martins in London. Parallel careers in art collection management and freelance contemporary rug design supported her early painting practice. Awarded a Juliet Gomperts bursary in 2012, her paintings have since been widely exhibited in the UK, including The London Group Open (2015/17), Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition (2015/17), BEEP Painting Biennial (2016/18/20), ING Discerning Eye, Wells Art Contemporary, ‘Supernature’ (3 venue touring exhibition), The Royal West of England Academy Open, ‘Matthew Burrows Selects’ Unit 1 Gallery/Workshop, London, ‘A Generous Space’ Hastings Contemporary, Linden Hall Studio, Deal, SFSA Painting Open, PS Mirabel, Manchester, Rye Winter Salon, Angus-Hughes Gallery, ‘Painting [Now]’, Studio One Gallery.