T h e   P a i n t e d   V e i l
Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley, 5 to 26 March 2002
The Chapel Gallery, Hall Place, Bexley, 4 to 23 May 2002
The completion of the paintings in this exhibition coincided with Susan's fiftieth birthday and so she felt bound to reflect on passing time whilst making them.  Given the abstract, chance-based nature of her work, this seemed best translated into fine layers of paint - The Painted Veil - mainly applied by being squirted from a glass medicine dropper.  Some of the paintings developed into fantastical plant-like forms as if they came from a kind of madness - however little evidence there is of this in the finished work. 
These plant-forms, whose many layers give one a sense of wanting to peel them back (as in the Shelley sonnet from which the title The Painted Veil is taken), seemed to be a very appropriate metaphor for time, being so fragile and ephemeral.

The words, 'fragile' and 'ephemeral', could also be applied to the human condition, these paintings forming a natural development from Susan's last exhibition Out of The Deep, which was about human (particularly female) vulnerability from the negative point of view of feeling or being violated. The vulnerability sensed in this new work comes from tenderness, the human capacity for feelings, of both pain and elation and the paradox that we cannot be sensitive to one without also being sensitive to the other.
The Painted Veil:  Review by Carolyn Burraston
These paintings, of acrylic and watercolour on paper, are deceptively delicate. Subtle layers of soft whites or icy greys are almost sculptural, and one is drawn into the soft tender pink or crimson depths revealed beneath. There is often the hint of pain and vulnerability beneath the frosty layers, but several paintings, particularly the Ripe series, are deeply inviting, very sensual, with beautiful shades of soft purple and tender crimson.

Some of the paintings show a different subtlety:  a gentle, diffused yellow glimpsed beyond the veil of airy white or soft grey with even a hint of red beyond yellow in The Painted Veil.  Fragile Membrane suggests an organic form, with tantalising deep crimson depths.

The Bloom series typifies Susan's mastery in creating an energy, a life force, which is at once soft and explosive.  The colours are beautiful - greys, soft purple, dark wine-red - with a glint of yellow in Bloom I, and the suggestion of blue veining beyond the turmoil of white in Bloom II.

On the collaboration:

Visitors to the exhibition were greeted with the sound of piano music written for The Painted Veil by two young composers Christopher Willis and Nils Schweckendiek which linked with the paintings in an uncanny way.  The poems by Jane Kingshill were available to visitors in a booklet for them to read in front of the paintings and to take away to read in the future;  any sense of vulnerability or pain in the paintings comes across more overtly in the poems in contrast to the ballad by Katie Kingshill which was a pure celebration of the group's longstanding and unusual collaboration.

Concert in celebration of collaboration
Christopher Willis played compositions for The Painted Veil, including Soliloquy, and music for the collaboration by Nils Schweckendiek. Danny Kingshill presented readings and semi-improvised musical settings of poems by Jane Kingshill. Katie Kingshill wrote the ballad Three Ghosts in celebration of collaboration, also set to music and performed by Danny.