Behind the Scenes, works from S. Lillian Horst aka Susan L. Ross, at Merge of Stone Ridge


Merge, an alternative Art Gallery, at 178 Schoonmaker Lane, Stone Ridge presents a retrospective of S. Lillian Horst aka Susan L. Ross, tracing her prodigious career from her early years; an early experimenter of acrylic and rhoplex paintings to her later years comprised of vivid sprawling large scale oil paintings. Her artistic years spanned two decades in the special effects industry at ILM, George Lucas Digital, Industrial Light & Magic.

Horst’s career at ILM, then known as Susan Ross, began in the model room, consequently becoming promoted to lead view painter of digital textures and supervisor of the paint department at a nascent time of digital animation as a means of filmic special effects, of which Lucas Digital was a forerunner and pioneer of the technology. She is responsible for many images deeply embedded in our memories of pop culture; Chewbacca, is just one of these indelible beloved characters.

The experience that she accrued through those years deeply influenced her later paintings, working at first in the traditional analog mode of building physical models utilizing real materials and then shifting to digital medium, creating and painting creatures for the movies using the computer and maps of pixels. By zooming into the image for realistic detail, she found at some point the pixel paint became completely abstract and the within the abstraction, recognizable images emerged.,

“I find scribbling with brush and paint while continually turning the canvas encourages the same unconscious behavior, and out of this, the images appear that with a few strokes become visible to a wider audience,” said Ross. “When this happens, the seeming disparate elements that form are already speaking clearly to an issue before I have become cognizant of it. This is the moment that fascinates me, the discovery that my unconscious state has already organized the information in a particular way that makes sense.”

The “Behind the Scenes” exhibit will be on display daily, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. through Saturday, June 12; and then by appointment through June 25.

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