July 7 - September 16, 2007
Susan Barnett was a second year Masters of Fine Arts student at the Meadows School of Arts. Her paintings on display in the Hawn Gallery explored systems of the mind. Initially this body of work originated with paintings based upon a specialized type of Latin Square popularized by the Sudoku puzzle. The properties of a Latin Square result in a balanced repetition of all the elements, numbers which she translated into symbols.
The addictive nature of Sudoku is in part due to its reassuring properties: known rules and an ultimate “correct” answer. It is a “closed end” system. Over time Barnett began to recognize in these systems the ways in which we organize, reveal and guard against the inherent chaos of the universe.
In the process of investigating these ideas, Barnett discovered a type of drawing that describes a distributed network, a way of insuring that system stress is distributed uniformly so that no one node becomes the focus or center. She generated these drawings based on one rule designed to enforce an even distribution: no more than five lines intersecting at any one point. The resulting drawings are random, “open ended systems” that feel organic.
These drawings in turn developed into ambiguous folded structures that seem to fly across the surface. In many instances, Barnett retains the use of the grid and her system of symbols used in the initial Sudoku paintings as a way of imposing order in the chaos.
Barnett said she was interested in “how we make sense of the world through an endless process of re-creating meaning and memory, and how we communicate our personal systems of meaning to each other.”