The Fourth Wall is pleased to present Contained, an exhibition of new paintings by Susan Aulik and ceramics by Catherine Waller.
Susan Aulik has experimented with scale over the years, from grand 7′ x 7′ to tiny 6″ x 6″ paintings, yet, regardless of the size of the work, or perhaps because of it, her fascination with surface and paint handling continues to grow and evolve. In the past, her large, physically aggressive abstract paintings came about through a process of building up forms, obliterating, and then rebuilding them. This process of building up and tearing down would often take months and dozens of layers. More recently, Aulik has been working at a more intimate scale. These new paintings are more immediate and dependent on the first, spontaneous, bold marks. While the process is considerably shorter, there is a greater risk.
“As artists, we spend hours, days, years in the studio analyzing, experimenting, observing and discussing. But the magic occurs in stillness. Nothing is more satisfying, exciting or mysterious than when a new and clearer level of seeing and guidance takes command… One of the reasons working and playing with paint is so satisfying, is that paint handling has no limits. I can splatter, scrape, scratch, smear and drip – whatever the canvas or paper in front of me requests (or demands). I can apply hundreds of layers, or, as in the most current work, one or two. The only certainty is that the paint is in charge; my job is to listen and respond.”
Catherine Waller brings her painting skills, vocabulary of marks, physicality and tenacity to clay. She eschews shiny glazes which feel inauthentic and suffocating to her. Waller wants viewers to have a tactile as well as visual experience when viewing her vessels. The physicality is important.
These pieces, built by hand from long coils of clay melded together, are substantial. The many layers of additive and subtractive marks have been literally fired in an oxidation kiln to cone 10. The layers of color, marks and texture, added and subtracted, are permanent evidence of choices made over time in the glaze room. What you see going into the kiln is not what you get coming out. The piece enters the extreme kiln heat and unpredictable things happen.
Catherine Waller’s vessels refer to millennia of containers. They pay homage to past legacies while introducing contemporary sensibilities.