Review by Nicolas Tuele
Former deputy director and chief curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
New work by Roberta Pyx Sutherland
Author and Editor: Roberta Pyx Sutherland
Layout: David Ellingsen
Cover image: Hidden Memory, Roberta Pyx Sutherland, 2019
Photograph, fungal spores on paper 63.5x51 cm (25x16.5 inches) Edition of 5
Copyright © 2021 Roberta Pyx Sutherland
Except essay Attentiveness to Becoming: Roberta Pyx Sutherland’s Inter-Species Art-Making © Bradley A. Clements
Editart-D.Blanco, Editart Rencontres et Dialogues 50 Ans
BimpeX International Print Catalogue
Publisher The Society for Contemporary Works on Paper
Chrysalide RP Sutherland
Mini Print International
Essay by Richard Planas Camps
THE WISDOM ANTHOLOGY OF NORTH AMERICAN POETRY
Chapter headings and cover image, 'Cosmic View'
Wisdom Publications 2005
Edited by Andrew Schelling
Artropolis, Celebrating Contemporary BC Visual Art
144 pages. pp.
A Book of Days: Art For Our Time
A Project of the Volunteer Committee
Art Gallery of Victoria 1998
Beyond the Gate
Artists' Journeys to Save the Tsitika Valley and Robson Bight. 1990 Western Canada Wilderness Committee,
Essay by Roberta Livingstone.
Liane Davison (Curator)
Roberta Sutherland: Earth Briefing
Catalogue, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Art In Victoria, 1960/1986
1986 Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, BC.
Essay by Nicholas Tuele and Liane Davison.
British Columbia's Women Artists
1885 - 1985
Review by Paola Iacucci
Director of BAU Institute
"Roberta Pyx Sutherland has entered a new stage of her work, and also of life, a stage that exercises a light touch which resonates both with human understanding and depth of awareness. Her work is rooted in the concrete; in a poetic way it addresses the 'becoming' of things. Her new paintings are dots, and yet it is the spaces between these dots where the paintings are most alive; where everything is possible and everything happens. So many of the most important things in life happen in the gaps – the in-between spaces – and her new paintings address these themes of connection and disconnect within their patterns.
It might seem as though nothing in her being is linear, but Sutherland acts and speaks in strands of consequential ways. Her ideas are like a Russian Matryoshka doll, opening one inside the other, with multiple possibilities. This is true of the poetic depth of her paintings and of her approach and seemingly her understanding of life. Roberta Pyx is at once concrete and poetic.
In June 2012 in Otranto, Salento, Puglia, Roberta Pyx traveled to a residency in Otranto, Salento, Puglia Italy.. There her work went back to its roots. Very powerful images began to surface for her, images of ancient paintings in prehistoric caves which she had seen many years earlier at Peche Merle in the Dordogne region of France. Perhaps brought on by the presence of the ancient strata of Otranto, she was very conscious ofthe physical presence of " Grotte dei Cervi " and their paleolithic paintings in Porto Badisco, just a few miles south of Otranto. Sutherland knew that there, in Porto Badisco, prehistoric men- painters and shamans- had painted abstract marks, secret marks even. These, the very roots of painting, were within range of her studio, underground but still very present in their energy in Otranto.
Their presence struck Sutherland and manifested itself as a need in her to go back to the beginning of her conscience; a need to seek out a primal mark on her paper. The primordial mark of a dot appeared. Each of these points assembling other points, in an endless series, as a mass. The hand with this physical gesture, dotting, when it encountered the imperfections and changes on the surface of the handmade paper which Sutherland has used for years in her practice, it was reacting with total flexibility and response to the air: the heat and humidity, the liquidity of the media - water .
Painting is an instrument of registration of the changes of life: changes in mood, in desire, in the inspiration and expiration of breathing. It is a way of breathing and capturing parts of life. It is a way to interpret the moments, movements and slight changes of life: it is a way to express the necessity to live. Sutherland is doing this seemingly by 'stringing' a necklace like series of points or dots together., a density of points, which compress and expand their distances on the wet surface of the paper.
The paintings of Roberta Pyx Sutherland since June 2012 possess and discover an ancient, prehistoric need of clarity and truth. They express -with the infinite and changing patterns of elemental points- the primordial need to express life and to capture it, with the simple movement of her hand; doting. Her primordial- like marks are ever changing as she imprints them on different papers, in different ways, registering any change or subtle event from their material presence, going back to the beginning of time and human expression.
Pyx Sutherland has found a way to seemingly capture the essence of life with her new work by limiting herself to the essence, the dot, with her desire for the physical presence of the mark. She is expressing with clear simplicity and uniqueness, the infinite complexity of life - existence.
It was not an easy road to this work, nor was it a quick one.
The dots, her marks, seem somehow unintentional. They are not born of conscious intention, but from a subconscious need for expression. The points, dots, acquire density or disperse, creating moving patterns that expand and contract, in the liquidity of the surface of the paper, and of the water, which is the medium.
Sutherlands new paintings become fields of infinite events - ever changing and exerting their definitive presence.. The depth, the intensity, the tone, the density, the smearing, the colors, the thickness, the dimensions of the marks - the points - change continuously, revealing the appearance of an ever-changing pattern. The pattern is never recognizable but always present: this work reads as the need to express life, physical behavior, and our understanding of it. There is no over-structure, no image, no decoration, and no desire to exert a control over the medium in this work. Roberta Pyx Sutherland is only controlling the deep passage from the essence of being to the need to be as paint, the most primal of journeys that of life into light."
Review by Paola Iacucci
Director of BAU Institute