Quiet Places opened at the CCBC Gallery on August 11, 2022. In conjunction with the exhibition, we asked collaborating artists Bev Ellis, Debra Frances and Sue Gordon to share their inspiration.
Sue Gordon tells us about her passion to represent the allure of prairie skies and the weather around us.
Quiet Places will be on view in our gallery until September 29, 2022.
Sue Gordon’s encaustic paintings evolve very slowly, and are the result of physical negotiations. She spends as much time building up layers of wax and pigment as she does to scrape them away. In some cases, she builds an entire landscape only to excavate it with traces of the original composition remaining in the final piece. Generally, the encaustic paintings are a response to her love of the materials, the allure of the process, physicality of painting, and the enticement of not really knowing the final result.
“I have long been fascinated with how much there is to see of the sky and of the weather when you live in such a place as the prairies. My encaustic paintings and monoprints are in many ways an attempt to describe the varied relationships we have with weather, how we regard it as mirroring our own inner weather, or how we see it as affronting us, assuaging us.
Philip Hallie, for example, writes about the sublime pleasure we take in natural disasters, our near enjoyment of terror and awe. My work borrows from cinematic or photographic mood, employing purposeful shifts in value and contrast as layers of wax and ink are built up and removed. This body of work can be seen as the visual form of Pathetic Fallacy, John Ruskin’s term for the literary device which attributes human emotion to nature, often anthropomorphising landscape. In my work, I often return to the image of the horizon, the one constant baseline and universal invoker of longing, and to repeating grid-like forms that are borders of fields or the edges of windows; in either case attempts to impose order, semblance, and safety on what is often exhilaratingly impossible for us to control.”
Sue Gordon was born and raised on the Saskatchewan prairies. Her ethereal encaustic work bears the weight of her nostalgia for the prairie skies and horizon, full of wonder for the weather that surrounds us.