Susan Ashworth



Susan Ashworth was born on the Isle of Portland and grew up in a landscape of stone quarries, cliffs and wide views across field and scrub to open sea.She studied Fine Art in Falmouth, Cornwall, and has continued to live and work on the South Coast. Her work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the UK.

Susan Ashworth’s interest in the tabletop images of Diebenkorn, Nicholson and Letinsky is reflected in her still-life work, as is the pared-back beauty of her maritime birthplace. Some of these still-lifes might almost be landscapes: oblique light picking out objects effectively dwarfed in expanses of empty space. A lemon, empty bottles, breakfast remains… what we get are familiar items estranged then seen afresh.

The handling of the paint in the work explores the dynamics of representation, with constant play between the flat surface and the illusion of depth and solidity. All kinds of process - simultaneous work on different paintings, widely varied consistencies and applications of paint, rotation of the surface being worked, layering, sanding and scraping - allow accident its shaping role, ‘letting the paint do the work!’

The resulting pictures show things caught at the very moment of appearance, crystallising out of a quiet shimmer of paint. There is a certain melancholia in the paintings. They are subtly elegiac in their suggestion of what is missing - a human presence that has just passed out of view. All the same, there is no denying the joy in this work, and a certain wild freedom. A sober depiction of ordered domestic minutiae will slide into swathes and splatters of untied colour, yet the balance holds. This is the freedom of the instant before the brain categorises what is exposed to the eye. It is a freedom that the paintings of Susan Ashworth celebrate. Without fuss or fanfare, they renew for us the surprise of seeing.


1968Born on Portland, Dorset.
1987-1988Foundation Studies Diploma, Bournemouth & Poole College of Art & Design.
1988-1991BA Hons Degree Fine Art, Falmouth School of Art & Design.
1992-1996Painting and exhibiting work, based in Brighton.
1996-1997PGCE Secondary Art & Design, University of Brighton.
1997-2004Full-time Teacher of Art & Design.
2004-Painting and exhibiting work, based in Newhaven, East Sussex.



Exhibition History

OngoingNorthcote Gallery, Battersea
OngoingFour Walls, Brighton
OngoingThe Rowley Gallery, Kensington Church Street, Notting Hill.
2012Alexander Gallery, Bath
2008 - 2013Enid Lawson Gallery, Marylebone, London
December 2008Foss Fine Art, Northcote Rd, Battersea
Dec 2008Morgan Boyce Contemporary Fine Art, Marlborough, Wiltshire.
July 2008Summer Show, HQ Gallery, Lewes, East Sussex.
Dec 2007The D'art Gallery, Dartmouth.
June 2007Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, The Cut, Waterloo.
May 2007'The Handmade House', Ditchling, East Sussex.
Apri 2007The Brownston Gallery, Modbury, Devon
Feb 2006'The Black Swan Open', Frome.