A compass is an instrument for orienting oneself, for determining directions. It is also a verb meaning to go or move around; to make a circuit of.
I have a long way to go before I’ve compassed the world, but I’m working on it. The paintings in this show were inspired by an extended trip to Australia, as well as time spent over the years in Istanbul, Barcelona, Paris, and more recently, Boston and Los Angeles. Traveling with camera and sketchbook is a necessity in my life.
I am fascinated by how we move through space; how we constantly transition from one space and time to another. These passages are defined by light and shadow. When I’m painting I’m both deeply immersed in the present moment I’m creating on canvas, and moving backward in memory to the particular time and place that my compass has led me. My goal is to make this movement palpable to the viewer through dramatic use of light and shadow.
I strive to create a sense of mystery. I compose paintings so that viewers are given just enough information to make them curious about what has just happened or is about to happen. I want the viewer to enter my paintings and move around inside them, experiencing the space and mystery as intensively as I do both when I’m wandering around in the world and when I am painting. – Susan Bennerstrom