Susanne Kathlen Mader

Høvik, Norway

During my work as a painter I became more and more conscious of the fact that my main interest was not about any kind of representation of the outside or inside world, but the nature of color itself.

Logically I went from figurative painting to abstraction. Color is now my central theme. How do colors react to others as different wavelengths? I investigate how colors interact to create pictorial spaces. Here my approach is not systematically analytical, but intuitive, playful. Colors have a physical presence, a weight and a density; they radiate and have an impact on their surroundings. To maximize the colors’ expression, I let them encounter one another in clear geometrical shapes, avoiding distractions like expressionistic gestures and brushstrokes.

I balance form and color, step by step, layer by layer, to build up structure and rhythm until every element has fallen into place, naturally revealing its highest potential. I intend to maximize expression in the compositions by using as little as necessary to create my pictorial space. Albert Einstein’s words are in perfect accord with my intention: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

A picture in which all of the compositional elements interact could also be compared to a Kata in martial art, where long practice and the highest level of concentration will lead to a free flow of movements, seemingly effortless and highly efficient. The practice of martial arts like judo and jiu-jitsu is an important part of my life, and training equally mind and body certainly has a direct influence on my work as an artist. Other sources of inspiration are architecture and music.

Since 2000, encouraged by commission work for public buildings, I started to explore three-dimensional expressions and later to combine flat painting on the wall with sculpture. The sculptural element adds a concrete aspect to the more abstract painting. It visually opens the wall surface and mediates among viewer, surface and space. It functions like a crystallizer or condenser of the painted motif. My sculptural work, built from geometrical shapes, has industrial references and seems to be somehow functional, like a tool for an unknown purpose.

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