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The search for the sublime

Susie Gadea has walked a different professional road and has a dedication different from that of most artists. Successful in the design and communications field, she decided to change direction and devote herself exclusively to art, faithfully assuming a new challenge and commitment.

A true ‘citizen of the world’, she was born in Peru, migrated to Australia, and later arrived in Santo Domingo where she has lived for over 20 years. Here, she feels content and well integrated to a welcoming tropical environment, fulfilled in her intellectual development, having also found a spiritual road paved with ideals. Today, painting is her means of communicating a personal philosophy and convictions acquired through meditation, reading and study.

Her solo exhibit, at Casa de Bastidas, proposes a title that is intriguing, eloquent and poetic at the same time: “Connection: be the wind, soar to the Light”. Intriguing, because it does not evoke the references towards the exploration of the world made by a series of paintings. Eloquent, because it places the work in an irrepressible idyll between heaven and earth. Poetic, because it is like a metaphysical poem. We seem to remember a XIX century French poet that defined the human being as “Light for his soul, shadow for his matter”.

In Susie Gadea´s canvases we do not perceive the usual dichotomy between Good and Evil, as symbolized by Light and Shadow. The light that flows from the brushstrokes, from the highlights, from the rhythms, from the textures, absorbs any negative current. Furthermore, it conducts the dark zones through space, where they are absorbed and reconverted into the supreme essential harmony.

Susie Gadea’s cosmic consciousness determines her style of painting and her creation. She reveals a singular concept of structures that are weightless, aerial, almost immaterial. This is not about emptiness, on the contrary, it is an interpretation of fulfillment through subtle variations of pigments and palette. The textured areas that sporadically liven the flat, smooth surfaces, turn into a metaphor of life and integrate perfectly with the subject as a whole.

In a transmutation of the stratosphere, hues and tones not only serve as medium but they go as far as modifying their habitual meaning: greens, far from the vegetable world of nature, are a chromatic element of interspatial flow. The neutral colors are multiplied into greys, earth tones, rose, and of course the white, varying in importance in each painting, translates into supreme hope. We feel it as the enlightment of the subliminal and also as a force that leads to universal harmony, that contributes to that visionary conversion proponed by the artist.

Susie Gadea’s current production depicts her spirituality and emotions. If she inclines towards informality and effectively suppresses the subject, it is because this better transmits her quest. Her technique, willfully personal, is perceived as the concrete result of deeply rooted feeling and intellectual convictions. Beyond the choice, emerges an inner mandate. Without doubt, this creative period is a catharsis for the artist... the purification ritual and the search for the absolute that painting allows her to translate and transmit.

The separation between the abstract and the figurative does not play a role in these scenarios. Without an objective model or a routine representation, Susie Gadea´s current production depicts her spirituality and her emotions. When the painter talks about “abstractions of birds in flight” unquestionably those references, distanced from any conventional representation, are a metamorphosis, a “symbol of freedom, of being ourselves to our full potential”. The artist does not in fact dissociate the means of expression: she dominates introspection and speech, as a necessary correlation between her work and the sources of inspiration.

On the other hand, outside of a symbolism ‘dictated’ by the themes themselves, we do not believe that Susie Gadea adheres to any aesthetic movement. If she inclines towards informality and effectively suppresses the subject, it is because this better transmits her quest to “find peace”, “cross the border of fear”, “transcend” and “be all” –objectives and values we select from the titles as some of her paintings–. Her technique, willfully personal, is perceived as the concrete result of deeply rooted feelings and intellectual convictions. Without doubt, this creative period and collection, called “Connection: be the wind, soar to the light” is a catharsis for Susie Gadea… the purification ritual and the search for the absolute that painting allows her to translate and transmit.

Marianne de Tolentino
DACA / IACA
Santo Domingo, 2001

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Marianne de Tolentino is member of the Administrative Council of the International Art Critics Association and past President of the Dominican Art Critics Association. She has published several books and is a key figure in the critique and promotion of Dominican art. In 1989 she was awarded the Latin American Critic Award by the Art Critics Association of Argentina.