The Paintings of Susan Moreno “The Tide Rises and The Tide Falls” “drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.” Buddha “My pictures are full of climates, abstract climates. They’re not nature per se, but a feeling.” Helen Frankethaler In Susan Moreno’s exquisitely intimate field paintings there is an embrace and immersion in the freedom and discovery of weightlessness that only a suspended state of liquidity can actualize. Neither wholly abstract or landscape, they extend, reaffirm and re-invigorate the language of Color Field painting,            established in the late fifties by Morris Louis and Helen Frankenthaler. While Louis and Frankenthaler tried to extend the language of Jackson Pollock by the pushing the boundaries of pouring and liquefying paint itself (straddling the line between abstraction and landscape, hence the name “Color Field”) I believe Moreno’s intimacy of mark/pour, control/release speaks to a more personal psychological state of being, sense of place, sense of “field.” In The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, water – in the form of the ocean – becomes a symbol for time, never ending and never changing, even as the things around it become different due to its existence. This is shown by the constant refrain, “The tide rises, the tide falls.” The traveler of the piece goes to town, night comes, and the water washes away any sign that the traveler has been there – just as time can erase memories. The day comes back, but the traveler never returns, however, unchanging, the tide rise, the tide falls. Moreno works to her physical limit in her paintings. Working on panels and canvas as far as her body can reach and as heavy as she can lift, she mixes and pours, uses,sand, and charcoal to alter and control the passage of time in these luminous works. She differs from her Color Field predecessors in numerous ways. I believe the most crucial difference is the notion of “passage of time.” Where Louis pours demanded great planning and execution, they were painted in single unadjusted pours. Frankenhtaler made adjustments and worked over time in her paintings, but not with the deliberation and control and specific adjustments in Moreno’s paintings. I believe these “tiny” adjustments are one of the elements that is crucial in Moreno’s paintings having their own voice. Coming from a traditional training and draughtsmanship, surrounded and isolated by nature (her studio is in the country –side among trees and fields) she takes the light and the tiniest details of a drop of water on a leaf and grand expanse of the endless space of an open field washed in rain or sunlight and passes it through her private ritual of her painting practice, alone silent and free of concerns of others in the freedom and weightless of the pour, of the liquid…of water.While not all, in fact most of her works do not directly reference water (there are beautiful paintings in blues such as Nightly Rhythms, but there are more often than not, paintings such as “What Lies Beneath” which feel wholly abstract and are bleached in light warm umbers, reds and oranges, as well a preponderance of images with finely tuned horizon lines, ablaze in the color of fall foliage) I believe regardless of the “time or place” these paintings always spiritually connect to water. I remember my first meeting and discussion with Moreno talking about her work and life. Quiet and searching, she told me when she was a child when she was growing up in Florida, the only time she really felt at peace and free was in the weightlessness of water. I believe that “truth” is the essential element in Moreno’s body of work. Sigmund Freud spoke of “water “ being about birth (among other things) and I believe in this state of liquid, this process of pouring Moreno has given birth to her voice, original, moving and profound.

Michael David.