As painting continues its 40,000-year journey from Spains El Castillo cave, representations of nature continue to dominate surfaces large and small. Only recently, with the ubiquity of digital technologies, has this journey detoured from Modernisms ever-narrowing path to graze in fields opened up by the everything-is-equal Internet. Now when there is talk of painting, the tendency is to highlight the painters material instincts over the history of how the medium can be improved upon.
As a painting professor at the Alberta College of Art and Design, Susan Menzies is well versed in art history and fluent in paintings many styles. Her most recent work begins not with marks made toward representations of nature, but with meditations on the process by which these representations are moved into domestic spaces. And so, in addition to surfaces that hold pigment, Menzies gives us patches of floral wallpaper, some of which she has embellished in an effort to integrate them into the larger picture.
In recognizing that humankinds first paintings appeared in caves, Menziess canvases remind us that caves were our homes long before they became museums.