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Sometimes a painting goes on for many years , says Willie Suzuki about his contemplative process of painting and then repainting. In Suzuki’s dreamlike interiors, peopled primarily with females, architecture dissolves into abstraction. A floor becomes a pool; a wall gives way to light. The artist makes no attempt to simply represent the model in a concrete situation but rather allows his unconscious process to dictate the image. What began as a painting of a figure in a shower might develop into a tricycle in a thunderstorm. In a sense the painting is a sort of conversation between the artist and the image, bouncing about as it goes along.

…the process remains a mystery to me. My work usually begins with simply a gesture, a scene or an intriguing pattern of light and shadow. Rarely, however, does the painting proceed to the envisioned end. It seems as though it has a life of its own, wandering, changing, disappearing, re-emerging, and finally resulting as a surprise…Willie Suzuki

At times reminiscent of the dissolving images of Monet, Suzuki’s luxuriant brushstrokes and use of color lead us away from the commonplace and into an environment where foremost, the beauty of light is exalted. The paintings and drawings are filled with a sense of spiritualized sensuality where meditative figures are not so much the object of the narrative, but more an element or point of rest in a radiant atmosphere.

Suzuki’s pensive black and white lithographs and drawings are more literally concerned with the figure, whether in stillness or in the embrace of love. In all areas of endeavor the technique is masterful and the intent somehow very pure. With almost 19th Century delicacy, a sensitive face emerges from the mist in one print while Cleo, a favorite model sits sturdily with hat in an inkwash drawing.

Willie Suzuki, master draughtsman, painter and lithographer, mentor and teacher to many, taught painting and drawing at El Camino College Art Department for 40 years. He currently resides in Torrance, California with his wife Gerry.

SUSANNA MEIERS
Curator El Camino College Art Gallery

Click on image to view larger format

Model With Plum Tree
oil on canvas
60"x48"

And Mid-time of the Day
lithograph
22"x15"

Gees Bend
oil on canvas
24"x36"

Pond II
oil on canvas
36"x50"

M-A-C-O
lithograph
22"x30"

Lake Villa Rainy Day
oil on canvas
46"x60"


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