One constant in my work has been the exploration of the unique tensions that the portrait reveals about the self and the assertion of individuality in relation to the quietness of anonymity. Each work seems to develop its own persona, growing out of elements of the subject and myself no doubt, but also contributions from each viewer. The title of my show, “Sub Rosa” means in secret or under the surface and refers to what you can’t see when looking at a person. – Susan Moore
Material and image compete and commune in Susan Moore’s paintings with each painting revealing a unique outcome from her encounters. In the exhibition “Sub Rosa”, Moore freely explores the possibilities available when a portrait and a painting reconcile. The artist delivers representations of individuals who both project specificity and anonymity. At times she uses paint and its ability to transform the flat into the spatial, evoking form through illusion, while in other moments, paint is allowed to be purely a material of color and texture.
In these encounters, Moore also explores the range of scale and touch at her disposal. Intimate portraits draw the viewer in at their handheld scale while others feature grand figures, imposing and larger than life. The artist repeats, obscures, conceals, reveals, and fixates upon the faces of those she paints. By presenting individuals without context, viewers meet the subjects’ gazes; drawn in but always left with questions. In the rare exceptions where Moore ignores or excludes the facial features, the paintings are all the more powerful for that which they do not reveal. Moore’s works acknowledge the inherent mystery lying behind one another’s outward appearance, giving viewers the opportunity to question how appearance and substance relate and what can and cannot be seen.
Susan Moore received her MFA at the University of California, Davis and her BFA from Indiana University. She is on the faculty of the Tyler School of Art, Temple University and her work is included in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC and the Woodmere Art Museum. This will be Susan Moore’s first exhibition with Gross McCleaf Gallery.