Works with Force
New Works by Susanne Rikus
The paintings of the art award winner Susanne Rikus speak directly to her public in a very special way.
It is the force of an authentic and transforming painting fed by wisdom, which produces such an effect. As an opposite pole to hectic daily life, the expressive works create a stimulating and yet calming, unifying and centering atmosphere in space. In it, the viewers can quickly come into their own and have a sense that the message of the paintings is unfolding and allows them to understand in the deep layers of consciousness.
How can such subtile and yet engaging and effective works result, and what makes them so unusual?
Susanne Rikus, actually an architect, uses her grasp of building and its specific surroundings when she gets into the preparation for her artistic works.
For the real painting comes at the end of a long work process. At the beginning is the research. For this, the artist takes an extensive look into and behind the appearances of the traces, which old cultures have left behind in Sardinia, Hawaii, on Vancouver Island or in areas of Africa – whether in the form of buildings or other material and immaterial cultural expressions.
Beyond the scientific-rational exploration of the sources, Susanne Rikus herself goes to these places world-wide, where, over a long period of time, old knowledge was lived and passed on, so as to draw directly from this stored memory.
Directly from this connectedness, she creates her works, in whose aesthetics that information is reflected (river of transformation), but is always maintained on a higher plane and is legible.
Often, this is in connection with nature (Kane, Hawaiian islands, red dance, Hawaiin waterfall) or figurative echoes (duality meet oneness, goddess), but is also abstracted (home of the souls, Hawaiin spirits, rainbow falls).
In clear gestures and with powerful bright colors, Susanne Rikus applies the motifs to mostly large formats layer by layer.
The act of painting itself follows quickly, spontaneously, with sure, confident brushstrokes. This directness and liveliness in the implementation leads to a very expressive, harmonious appearance.
This extends from playful and airy color moments (rainbow falls, Hawaiian home) to compressed, energetic expressions (Domus de Janas, home of the souls). Each of these works is convincing to the same extent in its completely authentic expression. Here Susanne Rikus is developing an aesthetic, which often includes synchronic, bursting and retrieving moments and thus produces that energy mentioned at the beginning.
More recently, she is experimenting with a procedure, in which she transfers photographs to a canvas or a transparent medium like glass or acrylic glass by means of color pigments and processes them further with color. So, photographically held, individual structures of a traditional place can be transferred to a picture and processed.
This way, Susanne Rikus compresses the composition such that the real essence of the image remains inaccessible for the outer eye and yet can be perceived by the observer (goddess). This way, the artist succeeds in expressing the intangible in her paintings.
Not only with back lighting of the transparent art do those works show great expressive power (in the transfer technique), in which the photography can be surmised or appears in parts on the composition (matrix, entering the temple). In the latter work, you might think the female red figure was not approaching an antique temple, but rather the Brandenburg Gate in the metropolis of Berlin.
This is done on purpose, since one intention of Susanne Rikus is to bring old and new together with her artistic works.
Old knowledge as a solid basis can cause the opening up to necessary changes involving the new, the unprecedented. At the same time, it can sharpen the look at common cultural roots, thus promoting tolerance and international understanding.
When the artist works with archetypes, signs and statements of the “cradle of humanity”, then this applies in the sense of a connection, a respectful memory of the primal forces of nature and our responsibility as co-creators of our existence.
This is what makes the works so compelling for the viewer, for there lies a deep, human longing hidden in them. A longing, which we perceive and are barely conscious of, because we have forgotten from where we come and from what sources our spirit and soul, knowledge and culture feed themselves.
The paintings of Susanne Rikus give us an idea of this, let us sense that there are living foundations for it, which make orientation possible for us.
The great service of the artist is that she makes this accessible to us through her works by condensing her inner knowledge in artistic form. Thus, in her painting, she expands the area of informal art by aspects of the visionary, imaginary and transformation.
With her paintings, Susanne Rikus creates understanding beyond the intellect.
In that she connects the viewer of her lively and pulsating works with ancient human knowledge, she opens broad spaces of resonance, in which temporal and spatial distances play no more role.
With such linkage, development in freedom can occur: a vision, which underlies the powerful, subtle and exceptional Oeuvre of Susanne Rikus.
2017, Dr. Ingrid Gardill, Art Historian
Please open this link for the art work, that is mentioned in the text above.
In 1986, I painted my first works with a very good friend. Architecture fascinated me, and I worked on a motive for hours. Over several days, I focussed on one and the same motive until it was completed.
The old artist’s city of Schwalenberg appealed to me, and I painted the old town. The fragrance of the lilac, the play of the sun, old timbered structures, the aroma of coffee led to my desire to be an artist.
I developed a passion for painting, loved the life with nature and animals.
I studied architecture out of passion, starting in 1988, and learned free hand drawing, composition and perspective.
I completed my studies successfully in 1992 and went to Venice with an artist friend.
This was against the resistance of people around me, who thought I should immediately go into architecture and my one month time- out would cost me when it came to jobs.
We painted day and night, many pictures emerged, and I sold so well that I envisioned living off of my art.
However, I did work for two years as an architect in design and construction documentation. But the good weather was tempting and I had more longing to paint, so I resigned. I became a freelance artist in 1994 and have worked as such to the present.
In 1994, I traveled through Europe with a photographer who was my friend at the time. We covered Norway, Scotland, England and Ireland with my Citroen.
Everywhere we stopped, I painted the awesome nature and architecture. In 1994, I received the Cultural Prize for Painting from the District of Hoexter for these works (watercolors on paper).
A bad accident in 1995 sealed my determination to dedicate myself completely to art.
After my recovery, I took many trips (Provence, England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Mexico, Sardinia, Hawaii and South Africa). I painted on all the trips, while studying the old knowledge about healing and creation.
This flows into my watercolor painting and other techniques. What is special about the watercolors: each picture was painted at the location which it shows.
1986 till 2004- Marriage of watercolor
1996 to present- Acrylic painting
2012 to present- Transfer art
Representational Painting in Expressive Color with Dynamic Brush Strokes, inspired by real people and landscapes
Energy, Color Tone, Expressive Style, Color Dance
Inner Images produce new realities
The act of painting:
I reflect on a subject and trust my own perception. Through meditation and listening to my inner world, I connect myself to the arising theme.
Experiences create knowledge about being here on earth. Lines and movements arise in space, color combinations and inner visions, which often first create something through painting, a message behind things. “The substance is invisible to the eyes,” to quote the book “The Little Prince”. When I flew to Hawaii in 2004, I began to see more images before my inner eye and painted them.
Some of these pictures were printed as logos for an art event in Paderborn.
The view into the inner stage of life is there where the essence is working in our subconscious.
Subjects range from the soul of man and landscapes to the essence of old cultures, from which we can learn much.
With the inner connection to oneself, to a task, a symbol for the essence arises.
When I paint this, images arise that are colorful and bright, unusual compositions, with stories which are formed under the color. Based on the viewer, the mood and the light, they leave behind varying impressions.
Some paintings dance xxx, giant canvases are painted with dynamic brush strokes and color surfaces explode. Layer by layer, the images create a space of color, which can fill giant areas with force, energy and presence.
In 2012, I started consistently using what each technique has to offer.
So I utilize the optimum from photography, painting and graphic elements.
Why paint something that can also be photographed?
So I went with my architectural skills, selecting structures which show our European heritage (encoded), and painted spontaneously on transferred photographs.
I would like to build bridges between the old knowledge and the spirit of the age today.
The images are made on acrylic glass, which allows illumination and creates multiple dimensions.
The search for homeland and soul, the dialogue between old and new, lighting from behind and radiation from the front lead to a holistic approach. What is culture without soul?
Our treasures in Europe lie hidden in the language of architecture, which possessed knowledge of balance, of male and female components.
My attention is directed at the resources of culture. What provides trust and strength, what helps us in our life? I would like intercultural understanding, and I would like for people to take possession of the force of the inner centering and individual responsibility.
Art can be an anchor for the soul.
I would like to inspire in such a way that we are all architects of our own reality.
A Hawaiian Parable:
“women are the architects of mankind, men are the keepers of creation” by a Hawaiian kahuna
“Because you know the other from your accident, the vulnerability and fragilness of body and life, you know how one can gain back the balance and the healing of body and spirit: through the knowledge of inner strength and its use. The knowledge of inner strength and the search for it are reflected in every old culture, especially through its architecture. This ancient knowledge surrounds us all, and it is anchored in countless places over this world. Art transfers these messages and conveys them to the viewer. The resonance of each viewer allows him to receive this message. This makes art so lively – just as different as the viewers are, so varied are the messages carried by them back into the cosmos.” (Comment from art friend Beate)