What comes across so clearly is Susan Gunn’s meticulous attention to detail. It’s not about the marks she makes as opposed to the earthly presence she creates with her materials. At HOME Gunn focuses on the Ground, as humble, barren, dirty and forgetful as it initially comes across. She takes her inspiration from the city she inhabits and pulls its cultural and social characteristics inwards to make for a playful expansion of this everyday material.
Manchester’s unique status at the centre of the Industrial Revolution implies a period of mass technological change and development. By harvesting the earth, concrete and stone from the old St John’s site at Old Granda Studios she has taken elements from an inspiring creative place to create an equally inspiring dust-resembling pigment full of historical context and specialist artist methodology.
Gunn has likened these new works as “contemporary monuments to the history of the material. They express a literal connection to the earth and a primal, human ability to regenerate, recycle and transform…”
Utilising an in-depth historical exploration and development of the medium gesso. She crafts this original, organic substance with earth and rock which results in a bonding of painterly layers to form an exterior skin which can then be manipulated to create their fissured surfaces.
By applying many stages of grinding down, rubbing and polishing of the surface by hand to achieve their marble-like finish enables a ‘pure meditation of the surface’, one which highlights the true surface of the canvas and its honest mineral elements.
Akin to nature and the weathering process, Gunn’s applications cleverly achieve an effect that reveals itself as a contemporary art form. And its these canvas forms that reside in HOME until July.
On until 1st July
Granada Foundation Galleries 1 & 2
2 Tony Wilson Place
Images courtesy of Susan Gunn.