Photo: Anita Davis  2014

Photo: Anita Davis  2014

And just as the Japanese amuse themselves by filling a porcelain bowl with water and steeping in it little crumbs of paper, which until then are without character or form, but, the moment they become wet, stretch themselves and bend, take on color and distinctive shape, become flowers or houses or people, permanent and recognizable, so…” I now quote Proust at the beginning of his immortal novel to express better than I can, much of what I feel each time I see the paintings of Susana Amundaraín.
Being a writer and not an art critic, I associate her forms and colors to the world around me, and I am surprised with atmospheres and tensions that seem so akin to the to those of a theater production. The forms integrate fluidly through sober and serene colors.”
— Isaac Chocrón, Author and playwright (1930-2011)

Susana Amundaraín

Susana Amundaraín is a Venezuelan-born American artist. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in over 30 solo shows and over 100 group exhibitions. Amundaraín’s work is represented in museums in South America and the United States, including the Galería de Arte Nacional and Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, and the Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá. It's also included in many private and corporate collections, such as PepsiCO, Fundación Polar, ALCOA, and Minitab. Her work has been reviewed in Art News, Art Nexus, El Papel Literario de El Nacional (Caracas), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and The Journal of Art (NYC) among many others.

Her paintings reflect the veiled mysteries and lights of uncharted territories, like those found in the rain forests and mesa mountains (tepuys) of her home country. She was also enchanted by visual poetry and text, which took her to the theatrical space as scenic designer and librettist.

Susana generally builds her paintings through a multiple layering of color transparencies and eroded surfaces, in a balance between a structured space and a formless atmosphere. Her media includes acrylic and collage on canvas and paper, installations, scenic designs and text.

In 1992 Dr. Phyllis Tuchman wrote a critical essay of her work based on twelve years of pictorial development. Here she observed: “Susana Amundaraín’s luminous, layered abstractions are beautiful and profound. With them this Venezuelan artist simultaneously addresses aesthetic as well as philosophical issues (…) Amundaraín has almost always made work that is non-representational. For her this is a commitment, not a fad. ”

Her production works include Explosión de una Memoria (1994) a painting-installation at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, based on a text by Heiner Müller, with environmental sound by husband, Efraín Amaya. In 1999, she collaborates with her daughter, Vanessa Briceño (filmmaker), Efraín Amaya (composer) and Carol Ciavonne (co-writer of lyrics) to create Clepsydra, a multimedia operatic performance. This was premiered as part of Pittsburgh’s celebrations of the new millennium. As a librettist, she also created the story and text for a children’s opera, Phantasmagorilla? No! Phantasmagoria, with music by Efraín Amaya, premiering in 2007 by Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, and Constellations, a chamber opera inspired by the life and work of Joan Miró; also with music by Efraín Amaya, and premiered in Philadelphia in 2015.

Amundaraín has also developed set designs for plays staged by Grupo Theja in Venezuela, including the world-premiered and award-winning piece Autorretrato de Artista con Barba y Pumpá by José Ignacio Cabrujas, under the direction of José Simón Escalona; and for choreographer and director André Koslowski, with TanzTheater André Koslowski in Pennsylvania, which premiered their most recent work in 2014.

Ms. Amundaraín holds a Master of Fine Arts degree, with emphasis in painting and performance art from the University of Denver in Colorado. She has also been a Visiting Scholar in Performance Studies at the Tisch School of the Arts, in NYU, New York City.

 

Artist's Statement

The idea that, sometimes, the experience of a painting can stay with you all your life has always had a strong resonance with the way I feel about other experiences in my life, particularly those related to the connection with a place. I usually remember it in abstract form, imbedded with a singular atmosphere, a unique signature. These are 'pictures' that have stayed with me throughout the years, images that feel alive, and that I want to share. They surface again and again, as I paint, with variations, evolving, and becoming new forms of reality. I am in awe of the possibilities of color in areas of very low light, or very diffused light, and I am continually attracted to the poetic in quiet pictorial spaces.

 

Curriculum Vitae

indigo is not a crutch
She says indigo addiction resolves the problem
of the painting too easily
— Carol Ciavonne, 2011 Author and poet.