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Suzan Frecon: painting

Contributions 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.

"It is a finely attuned openness to the world that we encounter in Frecon’s work, a sense of color unlike anyone else’s."

– John Yau, Hyperallergic

”Each shape is of a single hue of remarkable depth and inner variation, partly due to the pigment being suspended in rich concentrations of oil mediums that can vary from glossy to matte.”

– Stephen Westfall, Art in America

“The real novelty of these abstractions is the texture.”

– Rema Hort, Whitewall

“Frecon’s merging of color and shape is an unexpected development, and, to my mind, her evocative use of color is rivaled only by Brice Marden…”

– John Yau, Hyperallergic

Frecon’s work “has a deeper, quieter kind of originality: a sense of unassailable integrity and the fullness of form.”

– Roberta Smith, The New York Times

“While [Frecon’s] edge-to-edge saturated color leaves no room for breath or escape, its perfection elicits no desire to leave.”

– Carol Diehl, ARTnews

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