Suzanne Laura Kammin‘s paintings take us on a meandering walk through neat, landscaped colour fields, her use of clean taped lines and soft undulating forms creating a space that echoes the design aesthetic of the 1970s, a benign time when bright happy living and the utopia of interconnection and harmony was heralded by digital prophets. A brave new world that is now the present. A present that has morphed into a more sinister beast. In this context her pictures could be seen as nostalgic, wanting to envelop us with the idea of belonging, a world that is open and egalitarian and riding on a crest of technological advancement.
Yet while the paintings profess to a brighter future the reality is somewhat different and it’s in this juxtaposition of reality and hope that we find Kammins pictures. Her hard-edged shapes of synthetic colors – contained by underpainted paths that guide us through her beautiful abstractions – give us a landscape to wander through, going nowhere in particular but happy in the knowledge that we’re moving forward, somewhere.
For all her formality Kammin is an instinctual painter, her pictures are not planned, rather she takes her brush for a walk, lets herself go, out of control, the lexicon of paint free to express itself in an abstraction of colour, form and line. This sense of a language being developed through instinct, faith, love and confidence in the process is what gives these pictures a magic, a sense that there is another voice, another meaning lying beneath the surface of reality. Here’s what she has to say about her work:
I explore ideas of home, belonging and connectedness. Using a variety of processes, I juxtapose hard edges with more gestural passages, creating works that are both sleek and forgiving. A mixture of the humane and technological, these abstract paintings can be read as blueprints of a longed-for utopian future.
The materiality of the painted surface has always been a source of challenge and fascination for me. In my recent paintings, I balance various painted elements – line, shape, color – and use additive and reductive painting techniques to create a sense of wholeness and harmony. Using an array of tools and techniques, I contrast smooth, minimal shapes of pure color against distressed and improvisatory painted passages to create a sense of expansiveness, magic and mystery.