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Susanna Lisle Portraitjpg.jpg

“Ms. Dent’s large, vibrant canvases carry on the tradition of abstract expressionism, with its reliance on spontaneous gesture and its avoidance of representational imagery (...) the paintings recall those of Helen Frankenthaler, who, like Ms. Dent contrasts translucent areas of stained pigment, with thick calligraphic strokes and linear elements to create forms that float in pictorial space. (...) Whether their titles obscure or explain their meanings, Ms. Dent’s paintings can be enjoyed without the benefit of such intimations. Their appeal lies in the gestural verve and the artists love of chromatic interplay, resulting in imagery that alludes to nature while seldom picturing it.”

Helen. A. Harrison New York Times 2003.


20 years later I continue along the same thread.

My starting point for making a painting is the desire to use and see a particular colour, in quantity, poured and stained onto an un-primed canvas. This action paves the way for further colours, mixed and applied with fast and intuitive decision making. I use all manner of materials and take a maverick approach to the rules of combining different solvent-based mediums. Often, I will start with an already marked canvas – one that I’ve stitched together, using old canvas remnants from the floor which I lay down to catch the drips from previous paintings. This gives the canvas some history and a reference point for me – like a signpost in an overgrown path.

The physicality of the stitched canvas and the stuff of paint, the mixing and discovery of different mediums and textures and pigments, the rejuvenation of a congealed, obscure colour in a discarded paint pot, bringing new possibilities and

unintentional finds, is what keeps me captivated. I take these surprise findings and learnings into the next painting and so it goes on, and on.

The subject matter is drawn from nature often from plant life, flowers and foliage, in situ, or from photographs I have taken, of blooms in their drying glory, of laden pods bursting with seeds, of the human form sketched and painted in the life room, and the unexpected that provokes me to look further.I cannot do justice to the subject. Nor can I replicate it, and I have no desire to replicate it. Only a need to portray the emotion I feel being amongst all of this and how it feels on a large scale to be both physically and spiritually human amongst all of this. 

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