Susie Hamilton

My work focuses on figures in wilderness. This wilderness may be literal (the arctic) or metaphorical (the superstore) but both can be arenas for transformation. I paint in thin veils of acrylic which burst boundaries and destroy contours to suggest mutation and deliquescence and show figures as stretched, pulverized, unstable, vulnerable. Such mutation is not just change within the human but beyond it, with figures grotesquely or uncannily turned into humanoid, hybrid things or into blots, cells, messes, silhouettes and, especially, abstract shapes. The representational overtaken by abstraction is important to me, partly because it feels like an extreme way of challenging the figure’s identity but also because it is a way of showing the familiar tipping over into the unfamiliar, of reaching a point where the recognizable gives way to unnamed shapes. Before finding out what an object is, I like the sensation of an obscure but intriguing presence that reminds me of something as yet unlabeled. It dramatizes and contrasts two ways of seeing – in terms of names or of nameless shapes. It is an attempt to get behind the familiar to a sensation of menace or mystery.