The Drawers - Sue Rusk  Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Sue Rusk's expressionistic Sonate series based on classical music is far from a classic rendition of the topic. When the violin becomes more present than the musician and the composer combined, when the physical embodiment of the Sonate extends beyond the violin and is represented with all of the attendant emotions that have come to the listener, and when that audio message is turned into a work of art, finally arrested in one movement, the sonata completes itself in a stillness that can be heard. Sue Rusk's works on paper exude music from the page through the paint with the abstract expressionist gestures of a master painter as theatrical as a symphony conductor.

These are grand romantic pieces. Romance is visceral and sometimes uncomfortable. Passions are juicy. Emotions create leakage in the body, crying, sweating and blood rushing in novel directions as the heart pumps, as the feelings generate energy. It is a journey through time. So is a Sonata. The music seduces, buoys, coyly flirts and backs away as it completes the contrasting movements. The instruments speak, whisper, and cry at each other. The violins in Sue Rusk's Sonate series do not stay still. There is an aura extending beyond the periphery of the instrument that mixes in with the atmosphere - visible sound waves pulsing outwards.

The treatment of the surface runs between sweet caresses and touches which are not as gentle. The colors are Titianesque russets, Cimabue cyans, Merovingian gingers, Veronese roses and Francis Bacon beiges. The tactility in the paint or the addition of canvas strips, sticks or collage supports the lushness, an impression that if it was to become one millimeter more gorgeous, the heart would burst. These violins are stripped to the flesh and bones. Rife with associative shapes, the heart pierced by an arrow to the violin with the bow, the music score to dancers and high-wire walkers or the red shoes to the Wizard of Oz, Sue Rusk's work delivers enchantment.

Copyright 2006,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers