January 7 — February 11, 2023
The Wave and the Water
Conduit Gallery is honored to announce the fifth solo of works by Dallas-based artist Susan Barnett. The series of tondo paintings on wood use mandala patterns as meditations on psychological space.
Susan Barnett’s background in cognitive and clinical psychology have long influenced her pattern-based paintings that use color and composition to influence the viewer’s perception of shapes and the way they emerge from background to foreground and vice versa. Building on those explorations, the paintings in The Wave and the Water employ mandalas, circular paintings intended to represent the entire cosmos, to function both as paintings and meditative objects.
Though not mandalas in the strict sense of using Buddhist or Hindu iconography, each painting has a physical three-dimensional presence that occupies space and gives it weight, but each can also be experienced as an immersive space where physical barriers between the subject /viewer and the object / painting dissolve. While creating this body of work, Barnett was influenced by her reading of Thich Nhat Hanh’s, “The Heart of Buddha’s Teachings” which describes the artist’s vision for the body of work.
“When we look at the ocean, we can see that each wave has a beginning and an end. A wave can be compared with other waves, and we can call it more or less beautiful, higher or lower or longer lasting or less long lasting. But if we look more deeply, we see that a wave is made of water. While living the life of a wave, it also lives the life of water. Water is the ground of being of the wave.” P. 124
Barnett’s paintings come together like puzzles with the underlying geometric patterns and ideas about the palette. Once those essential elements of the painting are settled, notes Barnett, “the process of my work is to manage the painting color by color, shape by shape, balancing the lights and darks, the vibrant colors and the greys, to create a visual field that draws the viewer’s mind out of herself and into the painting.”
Susan Barnett earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from Southern Methodist University in 2008, an M.A. in Psychology from the New School for Social Research, New York, NY and a B.A. in Social Relations from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA in 1973. Since earning her M.F.A in 2008 she has exhibited in such venues as: Potter Art Gallery, St. Joseph, MO; Encore Gallery and Fechin Museum, Taos NM; Museum of Geometric & MADI Art, Dallas, TX Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX; Hulse/Warman Gallery, Taos, NM; Southwest College Art Gallery, Chula Vista, CA; McKinney Ave Contemporary, Dallas, TX and the Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, NM. Susan Barnett lives and works in Dallas, Texas.