SUZANNE MOSS | MAKE LIGHT OF IT
4 FEBRUARY - 5 MARCH 2017
The Nancy Sever Gallery was pleased to present as its first exhibition for 2017 Suzanne Moss | Make Light of It.
Suzanne Moss began her artistic career with an intensive drawing course at Scuola Lorenzo de Medici in Florence in 1988. She went on to gain a BA (Visual) from the Australian National University (ANU) with First Class Honours, a University Medal and the Embassy of Spain’s Torres Scholarship to Spain. In 2008 she was awarded an ANU Field Studies Grant for research in London, New York and Florence, and in 2009 was awarded first prize in the Instituto Italiano di Cultura Premio Italia award. In 2010 she received her Doctorate of Philosophy (Visual Art, Painting) at the ANU for her investigation into the methods, materiality, spatial illusion and poetics of painted light. Suzanne began mentoring painting students in 2006 and subsequently lectured and supervised at the ANU School of Art from 2007 to 2014. In 2014 she was artist-in-residence at Hill End and in 2015, at Borgo Santo Pietro in Tuscany.
After two solo exhibitions at Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney, most recently Suzanne’s paintings have been shown in significant groups exhibitions: Divine Abstraction (curated by Dr Rachael Kohn) Justin Art House Museum, Melbourne (2016) and A Distillation of Light – Robert Hunter & Suzanne Moss Latrobe Regional Gallery, Victoria (2015).
Foundational to Suzanne’s art practice is a love of diagrams and luminous natural phenomena. These provide her with key visual language to respond to philosophical inquiry - questions such as ‘What might love look like?’ High-key colour compositions explore optical, rhythmic, spatial and poetic possibilities while offering a reassessment of the intersection between ancient mandalas and geometric abstraction,” she writes. “I associate three qualities to formlessly translate into paintings: luminosity, emanation and a sense of the infinite.” Several paintings in this exhibition were inspired by the 13th century Persian sufi mystic, Rumi.
Suzanne Moss currently works at her M 16 Artspace Studio in Canberra. Founder of Creative at Work, she gives mindful arts classes and coaches in creative thinking. She also leads small group study tours to Florence.
The artist will give a floor talk at the Gallery at 3pm, Sunday 5th March.
SUZANNE MOSS | MAKE LIGHT OF IT
About ten years ago, the course of my painting practice was altered by a simple question: What might love look like? The non-verbal answer came as light, space and a grid-based dynamic of emanating and returning, and this visual language persists, in varying degrees in my paintings.
I like to ask questions. Most of the paintings are inspired by some kind of impossible enquiry, resonant poetry and luminous phenomena in nature. The structures of the Flame series are imagined from inside a flame looking out into an interior space. Their planes of colour are moved many times during the making of a painting. Another example - Love dogs - comes from the 13th Century Sufi mystic poet Rumi where the howl of a dog for its’ master is the metaphor for human yearning… the longing you express is the return message.1 For Rumi, to yearn is to love and the dynamic one of emanation and return. Can you see the hidden flower blossoming?
Painting contains yearning, at least for me. Materials are harnessed - materials, colours composed within geometric structures - in an attempt to hold the essence of an experience as a mandala is said to do. I think of my paintings as shelters for poetic experiences - an idea from John Berger.
Writing about Francisco de Zurbarán’s The House of Nazareth, Berger notes how the painting shelters Mary imagining the future.2 He also describes the poem as a shelter within which the transient nature of experience might be housed and through so doing prevents its disappearance and brings “a kind of peace”.3 This is why I paint. If I could only capture the experience of feeling consumed by the sky at dusk all fire and bruised plums slowly flooded by a bath of indigo. To translate experience to diagram is the best I can do: Evening bliss (on the way home) is a reminder of being human; how we might still be deeply touched by beauty and be replenished.
Bob Nickas suggests the painter of abstraction slows down perception, a very good thing ‘…when the daily flood of images appears unrelenting, when millions of people across the face of the earth can lift up their cell phones and “make a picture” in an instant, can stop time for one one-hundred-and-twenty-fifth of a second, abstraction…can be seen as an antidote.’4
And if a painting irritates through it’s perceived failure to deliver saturated colours or recognisable things, one might ask – ‘what is it that I’m looking for?’ Rather than the work delivering, we might bring ourselves to the work with curiosity, attuning to our sensory experience of what is present. ‘The less there is to look at’ notes Kirk Varnedoe in one of his famous A.W. Mellon lectures, ‘the more important it is that we look at it closely and carefully.’5
I sometimes ask ‘Tell me what happens when you stay looking at the painting a little longer. How does the surface feel when you touch it with your eyes? What happens if you stand back and try to see beyond the surface? And how might it sound if it were music?’ The invitation is there to be curious and see what happens.
1 Coleman Barks (trans.), Rumi the Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing. New York: Harper Collins, 2003
2 John Berger, “Art of the Interior”, New Statesman and Society 1, no. 6 (1988): 32-34
3 John Berger, “Once in a Poem”, And our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos. London: Bloomsbury, 1984, 21
4 Bob Nickas, Painting Abstraction: New Elements in Abstract Painting. London: Phaidon, 2009, p.7 5 Kirk Varnedoe, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art Since Pollack. Oxfordshire: Princeton University Press, 2006, p. 8
5 Kirk Varnedoe, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art Since Pollack. Oxfordshire: Princeton University Press, 2006, p. 8
Artworks included in the exhibition:
(for details of the works, please click and hold cursor over the image)
Suzanne Moss' Biographical details
2010-11 Visionary Leadership Programme and Coaching Certificate
2006-2010 Doctor of Philosophy (Visual Art, Painting), The Australian National University (ANU), Canberra.
2009 Pinnacle Graduate Teacher Training Programme, ANU
2007 Graduate Teacher Training Programme, ANU
2001-2003 BA (Visual) Honours 1A and University Medal, ANU, Canberra.
2000 BA (Fine Arts) Year 1, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga.
1992-7 Private painting tuition, Redgrave Studios, Wagga Wagga
1988 Intensive Drawing Course, Lorenzo Scuolo de Medici, Florence, Italy
1982-5 BAppSc. (Physio) Sydney University.
2014 The lightness of flight. Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney
2012 Painting light, touching space. Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney.
2011 Suzanne Moss. Melbourne Affordable Art Fair. Royal Exhibition Building.
2010 Painting light, touching space. ANU School of Art Gallery,
Doctoral Research Exhibition, Canberra.
2009 Suzanne Moss. Review. Foyer Gallery, ANU School of Art.
2005 Space for Peace. Australian National Capital Artists’ (ANCA) Gallery, Canberra.
2004 Bittersweet Mini-Series. ANCA Gallery, Canberra.
Recent Group Exhibitions
2016 Wall to Wall M 16 Artspace, Canberra
2016 Divine Abstraction (curated by Dr Rachael Kohn) with Peter Daverington, Gina Jones, Colin Jordon, Gabriella Possum Nungarrayi, Penelope Davis, Suzanne Moss, Magda Cebokli, Ash Keating, Justin Andrews, Lucas Davidson, Dinh Cong Dat, Gregory Bennet, Catherine Nelson, Tim Maquire and Andre Piguet Justin Art House Museum Melbourne May - June 2016
2015 A Distillation of Light – Robert Hunter & Suzanne Moss (16 May – Aug 9), Latrobe Regional Gallery, Victoria
2015 Sydney Contemporary Art Fair with Liverpool Street Gallery
2015 Going Steady: Mid-Career Canberra artists, ANCA, Canberra
2014 Perceptions of Space: The Justin Collection. Glen Eira City Council Gallery, Melbourne.
2013 62nd Blake Prize Director’s Cut Online until April 22, 2014 http://www.blakeprize.com/works/the-lightness-of-flight
2013 Dear Moth…Suzanne Moss & Denise Higgins. CSIRO Discovery Centre,
Black Mountain, Canberra.
2013 LSG2013 Liverpool Street Gallery exhibition of work by represented artists.
2012 Poetic Structures: Suzanne Moss, Gary Smith, Elefteria Vlavianos, Denise Higgins. M16 Artspace, Canberra.
2012 Frames of Reference. Gallery Langford 120, Melbourne.
2011 Blaze 5. Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Gorman House.
2010 This Way Up. An exhibition series of recent abstract painting. ANU School of Art Gallery, M16 Artspace and ANCA Gallery.
2010 59th Blake Prize. National Art School Gallery, Sydney.
The Embassy of Spain, Canberra; The Australian War Memorial, Canberra; Canberra Grammar School; Justin Art House Museum and private collections in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, London and Cape Town, South Africa.
Citations, Reviews, Publications
2016 Marks against Futility essay about recent work by Derek O’Connor published on ANCA
2015 Going Steady exhibition catalogue essay, Annika Harding
2015 Looking Down Under: Contemporary Artists from Australia. Italy: Fabrica
2015 Painting light, touching space: notes from a meditative art practice. Canberra: Creativity Matters.
2014 In Brief: Suzanne Moss – The lightness of flight. Raven, April 3 (online)
2014 Sharne Wolff, The Lightness of Flight. The Art Life, April 11 (online)
2014 Art Almanac, The Lightness of Flight, April, p. 55
2014 Philip Forsyth, Suzanne Moss at Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney, Kikiono
2011 Annika Harding, Blaze 5 exhibition catalogue essay.
2010 Ruth Waller, This Way Up, exhibition catalogue essay
2006 Sharon Peoples, ‘Painter, textile artist work together as if one’, Review of Degrees of resonance and separation, Canberra Times, Times 2, Sept 15, 4.
2005 Helen Musa, ‘Moorish for Moss’ Review of Space for Peace, Canberra Times, Times 2, Dec 5, 9.
2004 Carla Calimani, 130 Degrees of Graduation. Captital Magazine, Jan-Feb, 48.
2004 Philip O’Brien, review, Bittersweet Mini-Series on canberra.citysearch.com
2016 Presented 2 day Level 1 course in Jugenheim, Germany
2016 Organised and presented 2 week art and language retreat in Florence, Italy
2016 Presentation for The Jung Society of Canberra on Colouring
2015 Artist’s talk Pictures of Nothing in 5 parts at Latrobe Regional Gallery
2015 Developed and presented Colour Like a Champion! Courses privately
2015 Presentation for the Jung Society of Canberra
2015 Co-judge for Annual Art Society of Canberra Exhibition with Ruth Waller, Head of Painting, ANU School of Art
2012 - Tennant M 16 Artspace
2012 - Private Visual Arts Educator and Creativity Coach
2015 Artist in residence Borgo Santo Pietro, Tuscany, Italy (April)
2014 Presenter Creativity in Teaching and Research workshop for Dr Kate Flaherty, ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences.
2014 Artist in residence Hill End, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (November).
2014 ANU School of Art sessional Lecturer Foundations Studies (Figure and Life Drawing) and Painting Workshop (Colour & Composition)
2013 Lecturing as Performance training with Amanda Burrell, Captivus Consulting
2013 Teacher of Starting Point art classes at Belconnen Art Centre
2013 Visiting Artist CSIRO’s Australian National Insect Collection, Black Mountain, Canberra
2013 Invited presenter - Abstraction Forum Painting Workshop ANU School of Art
2013 Lecturer & Supervisor ANU School of Art Painting Workshop
2012 Invited presenter - Renaissance Symposium, ANU School of Art Painting Workshop at National Gallery of Australia
2012 ANU School of Art sessional Lecturer Painting and Art Theory Workshops
2011 ANU School of Art sessional Lecturer Painting Workshop (3rd year Students) and Foundation Studies Workshop, Life Drawing
2010 ANU School of Art sessional Lecturer and tutor, Painting and Art Theory Workshops
2006-10 Doctoral candidate (Visual Arts), Painting, ANU School of Art
2009 ANU School of Art Sessional Lecturer, Painting Workshop
2008 ANU School of Art Tutor, Art Theory Workshop Cool Old Masters
2006-7 ANU School of Art Assistant drawing teacher & mentor, Painting Workshop
Awards and Grants
2015 Artist in Residence, Il Borgo Santo Pietro, Tuscany, Italy
2014 Artist in Residence, Hill End, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery
2012 CAPO Rosalie Gascoigne Memorial Award(Capital Arts Patrons’ Organisation) for development of new work.
2012 ArtsACT Grant for development of new work.
2006-10 Australian National University Graduate Award - PhD Scholarship
2009 Instituto Italiano di Cultura Premio Italia’Award, 1stfor ‘Love in the time of quanta’
2008 Instituto Italiano di Cultura Premio Italia’Award, 2nd for ‘Piazza of light’
2008 ANU Field Studies Grant for research in Florence, London, New York.
2007 ANU School of Art Materials Grant
2003 ANU University Medal in the Honours School of Visual Art
2003 ANU Emerging Artists’ Support Scheme (EASS) Embassy of Spain Travelling Scholarship to Spain
2003 ANU EASS Acquisition award from The Australian War Memorial, Canberra
2003 ANU EASS Acquisition award from Canberra Grammar School, Canberra