IN THE STUDIO: Susan Dory

Susan Dory investigates the invisible structures that govern our lives through banded, geometric abstractions. The Seattle based painter articulates what she thinks of as unseen metaphors, metaphysical phenomena, and networks through colorful compositions that involve underpainting and pouring paint. Her recent work visualizes this intangible interconnectedness through weblike layers of stacked, complementary hues.

Susan Dory, In The Studio

“Color is an extremely important part of my process. Color often takes over and directs the painting process. When things are going very well in the studio, the laying down of colors moves from beyond an intuitive spark into a kind of unyielding knowing.” — Susan Dory

Susan Dory, In The Studio

Dory’s work in the studio is both meditative and fundamentally procedural. Drawing inspiration from the Buddhist concept of Indra’s Net— an elaborate analogy for the relational nature of the universe— Dory maps out contrasting colors as granular, integral specks of a greater whole. The vivid, intermingling quality to her overall palette mirrors the intricately woven relationships that make up our inner lives.

“I explore the unseen, underlying support systems that exist in the world.” — Susan Dory

The Secret Cave of the Heart 2, 2022, Acrylic on canvas over panel, 58 x 52 inches

In the “Secret Cave of the Heart” series, she embeds blistering earth tones and synthetic pastels into organic latticework, evoking the mysterious whimsy of Op-Art. However, instead of obscuring truth through illusion, Dory seeks out clarity through surprising optical cohesion. Her striking use of color against checkerboard forms creates a unique, calming vision of the cosmic makeup of our reality.

Susan Dory, In The Studio

“Additionally, with this body of work I have been interested in the idea of the ‘lifting of the veil.’ A practice I do in yoga called Pranayama ‘removes the veil covering the light of knowledge’ in a spiritual context. I also think about the removal or lifting of the veil of a bride in a traditional wedding ceremony as symbolic of the shedding and loss of innocence— the idea of no looking back.” — Susan Dory

Pina, 2022, Acrylic On Canvas Over Panel, 52 x 58 inches

Dory’s body of work focuses on intensive addition through repeated layering of paint, but it also speaks to ideas of removal and unearthing. As she tries to give visible form to the invisible, Dory asks us to move through life with a calm, confident intuition, slowly uncovering truths about our own lives and the silent forces that help guide us.

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