Installation of Paintings: Oil, Linen String, Canvas

Liptych is an installation of paintings originating from studies of live skin. Canvases feature blemishes, protrusions and dimples; colours are synthetic and saturated, sweet and sickly, and the surfaces are infested with polka dot systems of spots and hairs.
Invented Surface in Pink and Green, oil and canvas on canvas, 5' x 5', from the installation LIPTYCH, 1994

Liptych is an installation of paintings whose colours are synthetic and saturated, sweet and sickly. Paintings are made from canvas, string and paint, and are composed of features rather than images. Kisses, moles, spots, hair, protrusions, and dimples infest the surfaces of the canvas; features appear to have slipped from the walls into a world of their own. This world is evolved from mathematical system, geometry, bacterial culture and infection. Initial formal structures are interrogated, dismembered and let lose. Empty dresses, resulting from mutations, inhabit the gallery, scuttling across the floor and gossipping, while hundreds of miniature shoes wait calculatingly in corners.

Liptych has little to do with depicting imagery in a traditional sense, though the work originates from studies of the body, and suggests microscopic views of skin and cells. Canvas surfaces are tampered with and manipulated to create protrusions, orifices and indentations. Oil paint is mixed with industrial paint to achieve a shiny surface or 'skin' of paint; the perception of white skin as pink is heightened and taken to the extreme, with other cosmetic colours added to the palette. Liptych presents a strange and surreal landscape
whose intensity of pigment draws reference to the filmic process of Technicolor.

First installed in Harmony Hill Arts Centre, Lisburn in 1994, Liptych consisted a series of large wall hung paintings (mostly 5' x 5'), a sequence of miniature pink canvases (6.5" x 6.5") bordering the perimeter of the room resting against skirting boards, and objects formed from canvas and paint occupying the the gallery floor. The larger canvases were painted with a polka dot system of spots and were composed of features, such as kisses, moles, hairs, protrusions and dimples. Elements of these features were repeated in the smaller canvases as if isolated for further investigation.
LIPTYCH, Harmony Hill Arts Centre, Liburn, 1994

Susan MacWilliam front cover image
Yellow with 36 Blue Hair Circles
from the installation LIPTYCH, 1994
Photograph: Terry Loane
Susan MacWilliam HARMONY HILL ARTS CENRE, CO.ANTRIM | Aug - Sep 1994
Gavin Weston, Pages 59-60
Yellow with 36 Blue Hair Circles, oil and string on canvas, 18" x18", from the installation LIPTYCH, 1994
Liptych, paintings in progress, Orchid Studios, 55 King Street, Belfast, 1994