Suzan Frecon

- Biography

Suzan Frecon is known for her abstract oil paintings and watercolors, which she has been making since the 1970s. Composed with meticulous attention to the physical qualities of her chosen medium, Frecon's subtle, interacting arrangements of color and form are at once reductive and expressive. In the artist's hands, color assumes a tactile quality, appearing almost material: Frecon develops her own color palette derived from pigments ground in oil, altering the quantities in order to obtain varying degrees of matte and sheen, surface and depth. She explains, "Color is the generator of the painting....I gravitate toward more natural colors rather than synthetic or artificial ones because they are what I feel what I want to convey....I think of the word 'innate' which perhaps means 'within nature.' I like the word 'innate' regarding color because I do try to have dimension within the color so that it is more than one color."1

Frecon was born in 1941 in Mexico, Pennsylvania. Following a degree in fine arts from Pennsylvania State University in 1963, she spent three years at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and studied paintings in museums throughout Europe.

The artist’s work has been represented by David Zwirner since 2008. Previous solo shows with the gallery include recent painting (New York, 2010); paper (New York, 2013); oil paintings and sun (New York, 2015); watercolor and small oil paintings (London, 2017); recent oil paintings (New York, 2017); and Suzan Frecon (Hong Kong, 2018), which marked her first solo exhibition in Asia.

Frecon has exhibited widely in the United States and internationally. In 2008, her work was the subject of a major solo exhibition, form, color, illumination: Suzan Frecon painting, at The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, which traveled to the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland. She has participated in a number of group exhibitions such as the 2000 and 2010 Whitney Biennials. In 2016, Frecon received the Artist Award from the Artists’ Legacy Foundation in Oakland, California.

Public institutions that hold works by the artist include the Art Institute of Chicago; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland; The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas; The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. She lives and works in New York.

1Suzan Frecon, quoted in, Josef Helfenstein, "Interview with Suzan Frecon," in form, color, illumination: Suzan Frecon painting. Exh. cat. (Houston, Texas and Bern, Switzerland: The Menil Collection and Kunstmuseum Bern, 2008), p. 91.

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