Covering Oneness

(essay excerpt)

Dawn Csutoros is interested in the confluence of the conscious and the subconscious in human perception.  She bases her work on simple geometric forms that invite interpretations and she distills moments of quiet beauty.  Her works have moments of dense textured effusion as she creates poetic form that resist conceptual containment.

Csutoros is truly unique.  Her body of work titled Numinous is created with ink and pigment on mulberry paper, a material she began using during a recent residency in Beijing.  Each piece centers on a radiant blue oval that appears to be floating in front of a complex black- and-white background.  The ovals have radiant contours, and at times look like shimmering ovoid planets hanging on strangely textured skies.  But then the “planets” seem to fall away and become skies themselves, with the black and white zones surging forward to stand as the edges of canyons or crags of mountains.  The fluctuation between fore- and back-ground calls to mind the fluidity of paired concepts such as thinker and thought, self and other, inner and outer, that may be contemplated during meditation.  As viewers oscillate between positions of perception while looking at a single painting, they may realize that the apparent dualism of such concepts is illusory: in Csutoros’ work, both blue planet/textured sky and blue sky/ textured planet constitute a singular visual field.  Alternating between positions of perception, viewers are forced to see the works with new eyes.

Marcel Proust asserted that the voyage of discovery was not to see new lands, but to see with new eyes.  These artworks invite personal discovery and reward with new visions and new insights.  The works are doubly rewarding because they afford profound aesthetic pleasure as well as the conceptual ones.

Betty Ann Brown  PhD  2011

Professor of Art History
California State University Northridge  USA

1 Johannes Itten, Elements of colour,; A treatise on the system of colour, John Wiley and Sons, 1970 p88
2 Marcel Proust, “La Prisonniere,” from A recherche du temps perdu (Paris, 1913-1927; in English, 1922-31)