Susan Cantrick

Born in 1952 - United States


biography under completion

Susan Cantrick is an American abstract painter whose primary interest is in painting as a structured visual response to sub-linguistic thinking. Her paintings are analogs of her pre-verbal perception that aim to be as articulate as possible, crystallizing the vitality and complexity of emergent cognition.
She lives and works in Paris, France

Cantrick came to the visual arts by way of music, which she studied in the U.S. (B.A. Bennington College, M.A. Peabody Conservatory of Music, Baltimore, MD) and practiced, as a violinist, for over 15 years in both the U.S. and France, where she has lived since 1990.

In 1997, facing chronic tendonitis, she transitioned her creative practice from violin to visual art. She has been working from an independent studio in Paris since 2002.

Cantrick spent a winter residency at the Vermont Studio Center in 2004.

Cantrick’s essentially modernist painterly techniques, merging the gestural with the hard-edged, are mediated by post-modern digital interventions. Her hybrid practice favors a stylistic eclecticism that can belie its coherent underpinnings.

The various processes she explores in her work combine elements of structure and freedom.
For the last 10 years, she has been painting from digital studies that are generated from photo-fragments of her previous work. The results resemble what she characterizes as “a gamut of genealogies,” paintings that share a common visual ancestry with their predecessors. She recently embarked on the challenge of returning to previously unfinished works, proceeding with new compositions imposed on the already inhabited space. Her various approaches investigate painting as state of mind, process, and object, revealing a connection to ideas about context and the renewal of identity.

Alongside her painting practice, Cantrick creates small-format collages mounted on paper and panel that are often composed of alternate applications of paint and ink-jet printed imagery.

Beyond a love of color and the sensuality of paint, Cantrick’s process is driven and defined by her convictions about painting as a form of visual thinking rather than narration, illustration, or critique. As a painter, she thinks in terms of materializing the moment of her perceptual experience when thoughts begin to cohere but before they formulate themselves into language. Though she has occasionally used literature or photos from her environment as points of departure, specific external stimuli are rarely referenced. At the same time, she is aware of how the body and landscape have influenced her preoccupation with how to manipulate flat pictorial space -- how best to show its ambiguities and exploit its complexities.

In a text for the catalog of a 2013 Paris group exhibition entitled “Crossroads,” Françoise Caille wrote:

“Cantrick’s work is characterized by an off-centered hybrid network of organic and geometric structures that seem to be moving beyond the limits of the picture plane. …A geometry that resists the rigor of classic mathematical figures is organized and then undone, favoring aleatoric forms and playing with the power of color contrasts. Out of the chaos and diversity of these structures emerges, however, a form of spatial anchoring: the compositions are stable, barely yielding to the movements that cross them. The work appears to be a constructive game of working out the best equilibrium amongst the forces at play. Cantrick employs at once an architectural approach and the means of a cubist who decomposes and recreates space, in this case fictive… The space is filled with structural richness, building a totality.”

In September 2013 she received the Art Absolument prize at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris.

Her work has been acquired by ACMIN Vie (Paris) as well as by other private collectors in France, the U.S., and Japan.

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2015 Libre, Abstract Project, Paris, France
2013 Recent work, ACMN Vie, Paris, France
Transitive, Combes Gallery, American University of Paris, Paris, France
2012 ponge. pebble. paint, French Cultural Center, Boston, MA, USA
2007 the eye 'goes after', artist’s book of 20 images accompanying 20 poems by Beverley Bie Brahic, American Library, Paris, France
2000 Daily Bred, WICE, Paris, France


2017 Ce qui aurait pu ne pas être, Abstract Project, Paris, France
2017 Comparaisons, Grand Palais, Paris, France
2016 Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris, France
2015 accommodating the mess, Abstract Project, Paris, France
2014-15 Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris, France
2014 Guoyi Art Museum Beijing, China
2013 Gift Shop, FRONT Art Space, New York, NY
2013 Holiday Art Show, Giampietro Contemporary, New Haven, CT
2013 Crossroads 2, Galerie octObre, Paris, France
2013 Cvijeta Zuzoric Art Pavilion, Belgrade, Serbia
2012-13 Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris
2011 CHIC Art Fair/Rotary Club Notre Dame Auction, Paris, France
2010-11 Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris, France
2010 Salon des Artistes du Val de Marne, France
2010, 2013 5x7, Bennington College, Bennington, VT, USA
2009 Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris, France
2008 Art en Capital, Paris, France
2008 Salon d’Automne, Paris, France

2012, 2015 Thé ou café, 9 works displayed on the set of France 2 television broadcast
2005 covers for two volumes of prose and poetry, Worple Press, London, England
2004 artist’s residency, Vermont Studio Center, Johnston, Vermont, USA

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