The poetics of gesture
|A group of eight abstract watercolors on cotton rag paper by artist Susan McDonald will be showcased at Ninoska Huerta’s private art space for the first time in Miami coinciding with the region’s most acclaimed art week.
Susan McDonald’s (American born and London based) trajectory in the arts began with recurring travels to Japan and China, where she lived and worked intermittently at a time when Romanic characters, now familiar to Western visitors, had yet to be introduced in Japan. As a result, she was confronted with the daily challenge of understanding and being understood; a difficulty that became the thematic thread in much of her work. It was during this phase that McDonald departed from her initial studies of calligraphy to produce abstract works comprised of sign-like fragments painted solely with Japanese black ink.
McDonald began by painting ensos, single brush-stroke circles that represent the idea of perfection in traditional Japanese calligraphy. As such, her early work derives from the traditional concept of wabi-sabi and its associated notions of imperfection, supporting the idea that whatever stroke you perform, it remains as is, reflecting life itself. Her beginnings with sumi-e, the practice of ink painting, were above all a practice in circles, some open, others closed, that eventually developed into other abstract signs and symbols.
McDonald’s work challenges the concept of ever more rapid but, arguably, more superficial communication in this technological era. Her technology-deprived paintings run counter to modern notions of speed, hyper-connectivity, Internet, networked dependency and the manipulation inherent in modern media communication. There is a meditative quality to her paintings, not just from the viewer’s vantage point when confronted with the work, but in the moment when the painting itself is executed, when the artist performs the ritual of moving the ink-soaked brush over paper.
Her work carries strength yet is stripped back in its formal appearance, with one or two central elements occupying the entire white space on the paper. Just as Paul Klee mentioned, McDonald “takes the line for a walk”, this gesture being of seminal importance to understanding McDonald’s oeuvre; her whole body incorporates the movements, the signs, which are then translated to paper in a silent, contemplative moment.
McDonald cares about the texture, the density, the weight and the purity of one single color, black. Her work is intended to transmit, through the use of symbols and fragments, a powerful “silent cry” that through its quietness and subtlety raises profound questions about how we, humans, have evolved in the technologically dominated environment we have created and how the modern media in all its manifestations, while omnipresent, are not necessarily the best conduits for improved communication. With her symbology, she speaks poetically about irreversibility and impossibility, rendering a personal homage to written language and to communication which flows from the heart, not the head.
Susan McDonald was born in Illinois, grew up in Southern Florida and now lives in London. She is an artist and entrepreneur having studied both science and finance. Her work developed and grew from the notion of semiotics, creating signs and symbols that represent human communication through an emotional and poetic approach. She is currently studying Abstraction under Tricia Gillman at Central St Martin’s in London. Her works are held in many private collections in France, England, Greece, Panama and the United States.
Ninoska Huerta is a private art dealer specialized in emerging, mid-career, and well-established artists with a strong emphasis on geometry, kinetic and optical art. Established in Miami since 2000, she offers a discreet and confidential environment for private collectors and institutions to purchase or sell works of art through either consignment or direct acquisition.
| Ninoska Huerta
Private Art Dealer
by appointment only
305 588 1231