Approved: 16.08.2006

Susan Banks


Approved: 16.08.2006





      Artist Statement

      2020 – Dealing with both isolation and loss or postponement of a Solo Show due to Covid19, I am working on a new painting series “Gadfly”. The paintings steal from Gorgoneion mosaics that were intended to challenge the Evil Eye and so allude to a threshold, a liminal space, an apotropaic sign, and are intentionally dizzying or confusing.

      In reference to ancient influences the underlying geometry is essentially done by hand and eye - no computer programme or robot involved.

      In parts they recall the development and aesthetic of damage and degradation.

      Possibly the paintings confuse the logical brain in order to access the subconscious and the viewers own interpretations.


      In 2018 paintings branched off to depict a faded, reconstructed and revised visual reality suggested by artefacts in Heraklion Archaeological Museum and a long fascination with the Minoan Myths. Fundamental elements are based on the approximated proportions of doorways and columns of Knossos and others were lovingly pilfered from Minoan artefacts of indiscriminate dates BCE. In 2019 a visit to the Greek mainland brought further influences into the mix.

      The Evidence and the Realities series are extensions of the Mysteries series of paintings and both follow visits to the archaeological sites around the Bay of Naples and a startling and stimulating encounter with Roman Painting in situ.

      Notes on previous series : Whilst retaining some themes and motifs of familiar myths I detach elements from some unsavory narratives used in the history of art and rework them as abstracted alternatives. I am fascinated by the way that historical figurative painting makes visible the invisible and happily depicts the impossible, so I play with these ideas in the language of abstraction to side step unwelcome meanings. Thus Cupid is a just suggestion of wings and Perseus is implied by his Helmet of Invisibility. With Perseus and Andromeda there is something of the sea and surf and fear in the painting while avoiding the usual salacious element of the subject. The paintings seem to emphasize form and visual language and a systematic painting process but they allude to familiar mythical themes and I hope that new meanings will occur. The very surfaces are ambiguous and the colours apparently unstable so It is intended that the images should be visually capricious and entice re-interpretation by the viewer. The paintings also celebrate the painting process in an age of newer technological image making; The paint is mixed with oil to facilitate a wet-in-wet process resulting in some very rich textures created by tricky paint manipulation. Thus the canvases acknowledge being hand-made objects and change in different viewing conditions. This new work shows a development of these processes enabled by smaller canvases and less systemic rigour in production which is leading to a free flow of new ideas and discoveries.

      CV & Education

      Solo exhibitions.

      2021 False Doors and Timeless Thresholds, Orchard Galley, Gunby Hall and Estate, The National Trust. Nr Spilsby.

      2012 - Elusion and Revision, Abbey Walk Gallery, Grimsby

      2008 -Divertimenta: Abstract Paintings,

      2007 Solo Show, RED Gallery of Contemporary Art, Hull

      2007 - Divertimenta: Abstract Paintings, Persistence Works [Yorkshire ArtSpace], Sheffield 2005 - Divertimenta: Abstract Paintings, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe

      2005 - Small Abstract Paintings, Blackfriars Arts Centre, Boston

      2003 - Divertimenta, The Ropewalk, Barton on Humber

      2002 - Divertimenta, Oxmarket Centre of Arts, Chichester

      2002 - Divertimenta, Peterborough Art House

      1994 - Solo Show, Kunsthalle, Königswinter, Germany

      1991 - Harding House, Lincoln

      1989 - Matilda Gallery, Sheffield.

      1984 - Solo Show, Louth Area Arts Gallery, Louth 1972 - Solo Show, Leeds Playhouse Gallery, Leeds 1972 - Solo Show, Leeds University Gallery, Leeds

      Group exhibitions

      Art out of Isolation, Usher Gallery , Lincoln, 2022-2023

      Chameleon, Surface Gallery Nottingham, 2019

      #200 Fish, North Sea Observatory, 2018

      Nasty Women, Stour Space, Hackney, London. 2017

      International Postcard Show, Surface Galley, Nottingham, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2022, 2023

      Gifted, Abbey Walk Gallery, Grimsby 2015 - 2016

      Painted Surface, Surface Gallery, Nottingham, 2015.

      International Postcard Show 2015, Surface Gallery, Nottingham.

      Stuft All Over Again, Red Gallery, Hull. 2014

      2013 - GO Grimsby Open, 2008 - 20-21 Open Art & Sculpture Exhibition 2008, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe 2008 - Nottingahm Castle Open Exhibition, Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Nottingham 2008 - Nottingham Castle Open Exhibition, Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Nottingham 2008 - Open Art Exhibition, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe 2007 - Humber to the Wash, Ropewalk Contemporary Art and Craft, Barton upon Humber 2007 - Women's Work, The Gallery, University of Lincoln, George St. Hull and Hull School of Art , Queen's Gardens, Hull 2005 - Open Exhibition, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe 2005 - Signs of the Times: joint show with Tim Oelman, Willesden Gallery, London 2003 - Abstract Painting, Normanby by Spital, Lincolnshire 2001 - Women's Work, Artlink Exchange, Hull 1995 - M.A. degree show, University of Humberside 1994 - Site specific installation, Alvingham Watermill 1993 - Women's Work, Easthorpe Gallery, Mirfield 1989 - Flatlanders, Joint Show with Paul McCann and Peter Stubbins, The Masons, Louth