The Roman gallery Mucciaccia Contemporary presents “Flickering Light”, the first solo show of the British artist Sue Arrowsmith. The exhibition leads to a reflection on nature and painting, culminating in the series of works conceived in the three-year period 2020-2023. If at the root of his artistic practice – as the artist states – there is an interest in tracing, score, fragment, monochrome and photography, the most recent series of paintings seem to suggest a well-calibrated opening. A new orientation – or a cooled romanticism, according to the words of the critic Antonello Tolve in the essay in the catalog – that, strong of an assimilated methodological rigor, reflects on nature in an immersive way, through the language of pictorial abstraction.
Essentially, the practice of Sue Arrowsmith is configured as a projection between inside and outside, reflecting on a sensitivity shared by nature, specifically, suggestions derived from the study of tree figures and studies of foliage in contact with atmospheric phenomena in their flickering movement, through a reflection on the pictorial mimesis according to an acute rendering of detail. The choice of such subject allows to shift the attention from an interest in the score, in favor of light, color, and the movement of effects on the surface. If to attest to the original phases of the artist’s practice is the painting The Air is Soft as Silk (2020) in which the shades of black and white are preferred, the paintings later highlight an accurate luministic and chromatic research, as noted in The Horses (2023), The Dipper (2023), Must I Dream (2023), which present changing tones that the artist translates into alchemical guise.
The stylistic signature of Sue Arrowsmith is sophisticated, which since 2017 has focused on the fragmentary rendering of luministic and chromatic variations through the application of metallic inks on aluminium surfaces, according to a renewed pictorial language. This is evident in the fluid flickering of the painting Winter’s Day (2023) in which the artist experiments with watercolor and metallic ink, in the ethereal and evanescent depth of the intense blue of Dance Through the Drarkness (2021), in the attention to the alchemical reactions given by oxidized metals such as copper in I Watched the Fire Go Out (2023), the silver leaf in Search Beyond the Clouds (2022) and finally the gold leaf in The Sky is Full of Stars (2023), Bathed in the Firelight (2022), Flickering Light (2023).
Despite a series of well-argued classical quotations, the artist’s contribution consists in suggesting a reflection on the pictorial abstraction sui generis, in which emotions and realism converge, through an increasingly immersive projection. This intent translates into a pictorial research that results in tension, a careful and sophisticated research through which to perceive, in the fragment, a new possible reconciliation between man and nature, a subtle drama that is evident from the qualities of vibration and flatness of the surface.
Sue Arrowsmith, Flickering Light
20/04/2023 – 31/05/2023
Via Laurina 31, Rome
She is interested in the visual, verbal and textual aspects of the Modern Contemporary Arts. From historical-artistic studies at the Cà Foscari University, Venice, she has specialized in teaching and curatorial practice at the IED, Rome, and Christie’s London. The field of her research activity focuses on the theme of Light from the 1950s to current times, ontologically considering artistic, phenomenological and visual innovation aspects.