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Art actuel ‑ Trois-Rivières

Susan G. Scott: Paintings within Paintings

René Viau

Translation: Christine Unger


Beyond the traditional relationship of Master and pupil, how is the transmission of knowledge achieved? Individuals construct themselves through the experiences of their flesh and the exchange of knowledge with others, but this transfer of knowledge can only take place because of difference; the division between self and other.


In her recent paintings, Susan G. Scott, both a painter and a teacher, presents various paintings within paintings. Her subject matter is taken from art school studios—young artists at work on their canvases. As a result, one sees the pictorial terrain each student delimits, while Scott’s painting becomes the environment where the teacher-pupil continuum is put in question. This ability to shift points-of-view from one visual plane to another, without repetition, is intriguing. Susan Scott moves beyond stylistic quotes and shifting imagery.  An inversion of perspective is effected.


Between the relationships, divisions, and dissimilarities that the work brings forward, the history of recent painting - its techniques, its fields of reference, and its distinctions - is brought home to us.


Signs and references are carried forward from one painting to the next.  The processes and operations carried out by the painter are illustrated within the painting itself. It is not so much the obliteration of the painter that occurs within these paintings of painters painting, but these images, placed at the heart of the narrative cycle, abolish the distance between the spectator and the painter, leaving only the fact of painting itself. Perspectives blend. The questions of abstraction and figuration are confronted. These works are able to be figurative and non-figurative at the same time—translating the memory of a lost sense of wholeness, now fragmented.  Cross-questioning, the surface of the painting is now revealed to the audience, vis-à-vis the painting, as a hybrid of several layers that diagrams and defines the place of painter, revealing the strangely reciprocal double role of painter as model and vice-versa.


René Viau is an Art Critic for the daily Montreal newspaper Le Devoir, the art magazines, Vie des Arts, Etc. Montréal, as well as writing for numerous publications in France and Quebec. He is the author of several books on the lives of Quebec artists. Mr. Viau has recently published his first book of fiction, Hôtel-motel Les Goélands with Éditions Leméac.

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