Despite working in diverse media since the early 1990s, painting has remained at the core of Susan Norrie's art practice. Her video and film work has often been discussed as intimately linked to the layered, seductive and yet at times repellent imagery of her paintings. The gothic overtones of the paintings have fed into the foreboding moods that permeate Norrie's video installations, the most well-known of which, 'Undertow', is owned by the AGNSW.
Norrie has often included paintings as components of installations, as in the 'Inquisition' series, 1996 - 1999, (National Gallery of Victoria collection). The paintings in this series were often thick, visceral abstractions, with the paint applied in some works by the artist's fingers, leaving a strong sense of the body as integral to the production of the work. The title of the series suggests Norrie's interrogation of painting's history and precedents, of her consideration of what painting is in the light of modernist and post-modernist theories on visual history and philosophy. The title also recalls the Spanish Inquisition, suggesting the unreasonable extremes to which a desire to control knowledge can be taken.
This particular painting was made during the period Norrie was working on the 'Inquisition' series. It has the thick application of paint familiar from the series, but eschewing the blackness of many of the Inquisition works, 'Untitled' has a rich chromatic range. The predominantly greens, blues and browns have many other colours interspersed between them. The layering of paint has been built up into a richly textured surface, where the paint itself and its application is the subject of the painting. However it also has an organic feel, suggesting a watery landscape or perhaps the rough layering of some geographic strata.