Amidst crickets and dreams, Susie plays
She plays with the strokes she invents, strokes that invent shapes, combining mysterious chromatic cartographies and choreographies; light, vivid colors, that make up an alphabet of ideas and sensations. Susie searches for herself while dialoguing with crickets and dreams to create a world that is hers and that she wants to pass on to others. An enigmatic planet fed by diffuse energy. This would suffice to identify Susie Gadea’s new artistic work. But the brief and sincere always produces mistrust. It would seem impact calls for and treasures analysis, even when long-winded speech tends to blur clarity or disperse it. I will try to add other annotations, emotions and events.
When I say that Susie talks with crickets, it is no metaphor. A cricket is an orthopteran of nocturnal habits that sings by pressing its elytra, and does so solely in courtship. It prepares a burrow and keeps the entrance clean, as it is the enclave of its song. Susie reports that in the parterre of her studio window lived a cricket that sang happily when she arrived or returned from her trips, and evidenced its joy with melodious chirping, until one day it left to explore wider spaces. This is why she named one of her works There once was a cricket that left with the arrival of spring… an olive green background oriented by a golden stain, with elements that narrate the insect’s chimerical flight.Without ceasing to be an abstractionist, an impressionist, or a colorist, the Peruvian painter living in Madrid has given a turn to her painting, which is based on an heterogeneous language, on dreams without owner and on “color as an expression of non-visible energy” she clarifies.
She seeks out the sounds of color, the exact place where they grow and resonate in our body. It is difficult to define what it represents, because they are not defined figures, but rather interwoven accumulations that embody the presence, the latency of the painting.
Under the title Sorprender al juego (Waylay play), she groups a series of acrylics on canvas and ink drawings on paper, which make up a different facade of her doing.
Previously, her work was more naked, simpler. Now, while maintaining its diaphanous quality, it has become more complex, it has acquired baroque and surrealist elements that flutter in some of the titles of her paintings: Under the surface, her most accomplished piece, Caterpillar to butterfly, Innocence, Antidote for gravity, Energy game, There once was a cricket…
In 1923, the poetry book The cricket was bestowed an award in Argentina, its tenderness and humor gave fame to its author Conrado Nalé Roxlo, who also wrote theater, novels and wonderful children’s stories filled with fantasy and fairies. His other poetry books are: Luminous uneasiness and From another heaven. Any of them could be used in reference to this new painting that Susie Gadea challenges herself with, between playful concerns and serious thought, she reflects upon the future, which floats before us like a leaf falling from a tree, fooling us about its landing location.She believes that “color is healing” and is not the first supporter of this theory. The famous Spanish scientist Gregorio Marañón believed in healing through words and practiced medicine accordingly. Personally, I am not convinced by the tendencies that argue for the therapeutic power of art, although it is probably beneficial for some. I am interested in art that surprises me, that encourages emotion through its mystery and magic, in art that widens life, that invites you to feel territories that reason cannot reach.
Susie Gadea studied at the Brisbane School of Art in Australia, and in 1978 settled in the Dominican Republic, where she worked as a consultant in graphic design and communication. Later, she delved into metaphysics and graduated in Psychology in 1999. In 2001 she exhibited solo for the first time –with quite a favorable reception– at the Rodrigo de Bastidas Cultural Center in Santo Domingo, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of that warm and welcoming country.
This exhibit generated an extensive bibliography; it was reviewed by Amable López Meléndez, Marianne de Tolentino, and Odalis G. Pérez, all members of the Dominican Art Critics Asociation and IACA.Amable López Meléndez, a representative critic, wrote of the aforementioned exhibit: “The simplicity of Susie Gadea's artistic grammar conveys the inner convictions of a creative personality deeply immersed in spirituality and poetry –more temperate, enthusiastic and daring than tepid–. In this series of works, of noteworthy intrinsic quality, she rises to a polished level in her refinement of gesture, matter and color”.
In 2004, she exhibits The dance behind my eyes, at the gallery in Altos de Chavón, Dominican Republic, with a very sensual painting, light, in pastel shades, with erotic connotations, presented by the artist and art critic Danilo de los Santos.
In her later stage, developed in Spain, colors form planes that articulate gestural expression, abstract and expressionist, privileged by its chromatic vibrancy and clearness. The work she exhibited at the Retiro District Exhibit Hall is an example of this development, in the catalogue presentation Manoli Ruiz highlighted her intellectual strengths, a mention of which becomes essential if we want to make a reference portrait of the author.
But art is not science, nor is it a consequence of logical reasoning. Art assimilates magical thought and its polysemy, that element of surprise which amazes and captivates us, and which beyond explanation, rattles our sensibility. Talent cannot be controlled, its destiny is to go further, playing a game able to surprise itself. In order to express this mystery Georges Braque would say: “what interests me in painting is that which cannot be explained”.
In this new twist in her subject and language, although Susie asserts that her “pursuit remains the same”, there is a maturity and audacity that did not exist before. A result that pinches us and incites questioning, that reveals her to us while opening our eyes to a firmament that had remained hidden until now.
Gadea does not betray herself in her personal tradition, in the path she has walked so far, nor in her plastic exploration, but there are reasons for joy and happiness in this new harvest, all signed in 2012, in the paintings and also in the drawings, very fresh and fluid, that provide a foundation to the dimension of this proposal. Works mostly accomplished in medium and small formats, granting them greater intimacy and a halo of essence. José María Eguren, the Peruvian poet, a pioneer in so many things, noted: “Size means nothing in art”. There is an essence of Eguren in this nature painting.
Conrado Nalé Roxlo concluded the first quatrain of the poem The cricket by writing: “My simple eclogue heart / has awoken a cricket this morning”. Coincidence or premonition? That is how we can define this painting, like the poet’s heart, eclogue, simple, clear, quiet, orphic, dreams that build realities, the product of a game that discovers itself surprised and surprising.
Tomás Paredes is President of the Spanish Art Critics Association, President of the Madrid Art Critics Association, and member of the International Art Critics Association. Prolific critic and writer, professor, curator and many times juror, formerly subdirector of El Punto de las Artes and curently collaborator of Barcelona's La Vanguardia newspaper and Tendencias del Mercado del Arte magazine. Author of innumerable books and essays on art and poetry.