berman gallery presents with pleasure Pocket Full
of Posy (All Fall Down), our first solo exhibition
of paintings by Susan Whyne. As an associate professor
at the University of Texas at Austin, Whyne has influenced
innumerable students in the studio art program.
Days after Whyne’s return from travel in London where
she was taken with the architecture and decorative
Victorian ironwork of the bridges spanning the Thames
River, the attacks of September 11, 2001 occurred.
Her new paintings reflect a distillation of former
New Yorker Whyne’s emotional response to the confluence
of the trip and the attack. She continues to use the
theme of "memento mori," the images of water,
table settings, modern aluminum and plastic chairs,
and fanciful jeweled butterflies evoking the idea
of transition. She combines these with the portentous
imagery of smoking urns, ominous flames, Victorian
era scrollwork snakes, ubiquitous British wrought
iron gates, and coffee and tea cups perilously in
mid-spill to evoke feelings of tension and dread.
This unease is set amid the graceful architecture
of the London bridges and the calmness of the alfresco
cafe settings, left by the departed occupants. These
new works are powerful paintings from an important
Whyne’s title for the exhibition, “Pocket Full of
Posy (All Fall Down),” refers to the children’s nursery
rhyme which, despite the playful words in the verse,
has, with its reference to “ashes” and “all fall down,”
an undertone of darkness and dread.