‘in atoms’ is a celebration of twenty years of work by Susie Hamilton, which also marks twenty years since her first show with the gallery: ‘Stop Motion’ in 1996. Though clearly diverse her themes are united by a focus on the figure or creature in a wilderness. Her often isolated subjects—explorers, cowboys, spacemen, riders, shoppers--are blitzed by glaring light, dwarfed by enormous architecture or vegetation, bombarded with snow, processed thorough tourist attractions or the structures of malls and supermarkets. She paints people searching or in transit. They are not just bound for the North Pole or the American frontier but--as tourists and shoppers--they are looking for diversion, fun, stuff, commodities. Her wildernesses include the bleak public spaces of Asda and Westfield and her paintings are often wry, melancholic scenes of leisure or consumption.
Whether polar explorers, riders, tourists or shoppers her figures are disfigured as they struggle in the wilderness of this world. They are pushed, pummelled and distorted into new shapes. They mutate into grotesque forms verging on the inchoate. They are threatened with dismemberment, reduced to agglomerations of particles or atoms or represented within a scene of rotating cells, circles and blots as if part of a world of microscopic life.
However, this motion towards dismemberment is seen in tension with a struggle for life and survival. These figures retain a resilient, idiosyncratic presence in the face of conflict and threat. They have an often comic persistence in the pursuit of their goals and in her rapid mark making, her luminous landscapes and the distinctive being of her figures, Hamilton's work is charged with quickness and radiance.