Photo: Susan Banks in Louth, East

Susan Banks


Intentions, Propositions and Influences The minimum of figurative content and subject matter in these paintings draws attention to their form and language and to their process of production which involves a set of rules and methods from which new and unforeseen forms will emerge. Each work involves a number of progressions based on predetermined forms and colours derived from diverse sources. This working process results in new forms which may evoke the iconography and genres of paintings tradition. Provoked by the paintings of the past, Susan Banks reworks elements of painting which fascinate her in order to recycle them into new abstract images. Similarly elements of architecture, religious and symbolic artifacts, iconic images and installations are reworked into abstract paintings. Thus aspects of symbolic objects are translated from one visual language to another and new meanings can occur. Although religious iconography is drawn on and Spanish images of the virgin are a repeated influence, the juxtaposition of secular references creates a dynamic interplay of signs and the meanings of iconic imagery are questioned. Deconstruction, disruption and recombination are used to reflect on the results of significant visual experiences. Susan Banks intervenes in the sign-system of painting from a female point of view and uses painting for the production of gendered meanings. She works with mediated chance rather than mastery and consequently associates no fixed meaning with the appearance of the work, however there are precise propositions behind and beyond it. Propositions traditionally associated with abstract painting suggest that abstraction is formally objective and gender-free. However Susan Banks maintains that the very appearance these paintings depends on her social and embodied experience and her intention is to employ a form of strategic essentialism in their production; subsequent meanings will depend on the particularities and experiences of the viewer. Career path Susan Banks studied painting at Croydon College of Art in the 1960s and remained committed to painting, exhibiting regularly since early solo shows at the University of Leeds and at Leeds Playhouse in 1972. For several years her work was regarded as symbolist and was generated from an acknowledged female perspective. She returned to academic study and gained her MA in 1995 and having become particularly interested in the position of art by women in contemporary society, she completed her M.Phil thesis, The Relationships Between Female Subjectivities And Contemporary Painting By Women in 2000. At this time she became concerned with the processes of meaning production in abstract painting. Divertimenta is a collection of abstract paintings produced from 1998 and which was shown in solo shows at The Peterborough Art House and the Oxmarket Centre of Arts in Chichester during 2002, at The Ropewalk, Barton on Humber in 2003, at the 20/21 Arts Centre, Scunthorpe in 2005, Persistence Work, Sheffield in 2007 and the Red Gallery, Hull in 2008. She was an art tutor for the University Foundation Award of the University of Hull. for several years. read full statement

Location Louth, East
Activities Practice-based research, Art historical research, Workshops, Critical writing
Artforms Painting

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