Sep 9th 2016

Susan Kraut: In Rooms

@ Addington Gallery

704 N Wells St, Chicago, Illinois 60654

Opening Friday, September 9th, from 5PM - 8PM

On view through Saturday, October 29th

Wonderful and mysterious things can happen when you continue painting over many years. Sometimes you discover yourself circling back to themes and images which engaged you long ago. One of the earliest subjects I was drawn to, as a beginning painter, was the interiors of rooms, influenced initially by an exhibit of paintings by the French artist Edouard Vuillard. The sense of intimacy and emotional resonance that the paintings of these modest, personal spaces convey still seems miraculous to me.

The paintings in my current show are images from inside a room. Devoid of human figures, they reveal the evidence of human presence – windows left partially open, personal objects left scattered about, magazines or newspapers left partially read. They hint at human activity which has just happened, or a moment frozen just before some sort of action will recommence. They are meant to evoke a pause in daily activity, a small piece of the world caught in a moment of stillness.

Windows have been a subject in almost every painting I have made over the years. A window can be viewed as a metaphor for painting itself: a framed, selected view of a segment of the world we inhabit. In the newest paintings, the type of light and particular time of day have become especially important. Sometimes it is the bright, clear sunlight of mid-afternoon, asserting its presence in the mundane world of human activity; often, it is the murky, crepuscular light of dusk, enveloping the interior and creating a hushed moment. This is a time of day when the light is changing quickly. The paintings freeze this moment, evoking a pause of stillness in the fast-changing world.

The paintings, in oil, are made with slow, layered, brushy applications of paint. They are intended to slow the eye, to allow the subjects depicted to hover in a space not perfectly resolved. Many of my former paintings zoom in on different elements we interact with: still-life objects, pieces of a landscape, a partial view out a window. In my most recent work, I have enlarged the scale and tried to include everything: the room itself, the personal objects and ordinary furnishings, and, almost always, the window where distant, unavailable places can be glimpsed, as the light of a particular time of day infuses and informs the activity within.

Susan Kraut
September 2016

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