Suzan Frecon's Patience Should Be Rewarded
The turning point for Suzan Frecon happened in 1989, when she saw the exhibition of the Swedish artist and mystic, Hilma af Klint: Secret Pictures at PS1. In an interview I did with Frecon that appeared in The Brooklyn Rail (November 2005), the artist stated:
I always craved geometric solutions. They underlie so many things: architecture and old paintings that are informed by geometry, like Cimabue, Romanesque cathedrals, churches. You have the structure of the building and then you have the curves of the architecture and then within that you have the painting and within that you have the art. I like that, and Pomo baskets and Nigerian indigo cloth with light coming through. All those things left their powerful impression on me. I think those things have the influence of geometry. Years ago I was focused on trying to do geometric paintings and I didn't have the confidence to feel that I was doing something worthwhile or unique. There were so many painters using geometry at that time in their work. I kind of went back to concentrating on colors and strokes. But I always wanted to come back to it. I think Hilma af Klint helped give me the guts to return and go further.
In af Klint, Frecon saw an artist whose use of geometry had little to do with art history, especially Cubism or the grid. Rather, for af Klint, her use of the segmented circle and "snail" motif enabled her to evoke the occult and the underlying connections between inner forces and outward appearances. This is where Frecon parts company with af Klint. While both aspire toward the highest plane of consciousness, we have to remember that af Klint was a symbolist, while Frecon regards herself as a painter, a maker of things. This is what she said about her painting in our interview:
I try to keep any association or image out of my paintings. I think they are most successful when they reach for the highest possible plane of abstraction, when you can't say that they look like something. Certainly, I love architecture and I'm always fascinated with looking at it anywhere and it does influence my work.
There are eight paintings in her current exhibition, Suzan Frecon: oil paintings and sun at David Zwirner (February 19–March 28, 2015).