Suzan Frecon: painting
Text by Richard Shiff
The result of a deliberative process guided by careful attention to spatial relationships, Suzan Frecon’s large-scale oil paintings are composed of asymmetrical curves that result in minor and major measured areas of color.
Accompanying the artist’s solo exhibitions at David Zwirner, New York and London, in 2017, this publication features a selection of new monumental paintings carefully reproduced both as individual works and in installation views to best convey the experience of seeing the work. Depending on the viewer’s position and the time of day, the contrasts of matte and sheen, positive and negative, and immediacy and radiance combine to create an ongoing visual experience of always varying subtleties.
In contrast to the paintings, Frecon’s watercolors, also featured here, engage the relationship between paint and paper support. Each predetermined sheet—often from an agate-burnished old Indian ledger page—has its own innate character, properties, and irregular shape; its creases, holes, blemishes, and even faint writings become an integral component of the final watercolor.
“Their truth is the paint,” Frecon says, and in a specially commissioned essay acclaimed art historian Richard Shiff examines the new body of work in relationship to painting and the experience of looking.
Publisher: David Zwirner Books
Artists: Suzan Frecon
Contributors: Richard Shiff
Designer: David Chickey
Printer: Trifolio, Verona
Publication Date: 2017
Dimensions: 9 ¾ × 11 ½ in | 24.8 × 29.2 cm
Reproductions: 44 color
Retail: $45 | £35 | $350 HKD | €48
For the past four decades, Suzan Frecon has become known for abstract oil paintings and watercolors that are at once reductive and expressive. Composed with subtle, interacting arrangements of color, which the artist applies with meticulous attention to the physical qualities of her medium, they appear to blur the distinction between matter and transcendence. Color assumes a physical property and almost appears material; as the artist has stated, “The reality and the spiritual of my paintings are the same.
Richard Shiff is the Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art at The University of Texas at Austin, where he directs the Center for the Study of Modernism. His scholarly interests range broadly across the field of modern and contemporary? art and theory, with publications that include Critical Terms for Art History (co-edited, 1996; second edition, 2003), Barnett Newman: A Catalogue Raisonné (co-authored, 2004), Doubt (2008), Between Sense and de Kooning (2011), and Ellsworth Kelly: New York Drawings 1954–1962 (2014).