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Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Seeing Red

This “capsule review,” first posted during the run of the 2010 Whitney Biennial, is offered now as A TOPICAL PICK FROM THE ARCHIVES in conjunction with a show of works on paper by the artist at David Zwirner Gallery, February 13 to March 23, 2013

Suzan Frecon, embodiment of red (soforouge), 2009. Oil on linen, two panels, each 54 x 87-1/2 inches. Courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

Suzan Frecon, embodiment of red (soforouge), 2009. Oil on linen, two panels, each 54 x 87-1/2 inches. Courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

Abstract painter Suzan Frecon seems out of register with the tenor of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 75th Biennial: a pair of her exquisitely crafted, subtly allusive canvases in homeground pigment quiver with quiet sensuality. The sumptuous reds in the diptych (above) “embodiment of red (soforouge),” 2009, offer a hot sweet to the pinched sour that otherwise pervades this painting-light, video-heavy sadsack survey of the contemporary spirit. And yet, the understatement and austerity in Frecon rhyme with other exhibits: the pulsating, saturated red, for instance, with fellow veteran Robert Grosvenor’s fiberglass and flocking arched structure, or the playful shifts of perspective with postmodern prankster Tanya Auerbach’s trompe l’oeil effects hanging in the same gallery. Frecon’s curves within rectangles evoke references as remote as the rising sun, Moorish domes, Gothic arches, scimitars. An artist of hovering forms and studied poise, perhaps her essays in suspension are offered by curators Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari as a formal counterweight to the melancholy solipsism of many of their video choices.

  • Flemming Stenslund Jensen


    I see an image cut in two: The upper part is slightly colder, than the the lower part – or is it the other way around – or does the parts balance out, like flour counterweights on a Grocers weight. (excuse my english).
    I see two parts, with two baloonlike shapes, and two rectangular shapes below. What does that have to do with my life, my being? Is the painter mocking me? making fun of me? Or does he or she, plainly, do not consider me during the proces of creation? From the work i do myself, I must admit, that the artconsumer, quickly fade out of consideration. And “something else” take over. I don’t know precisely what it is. Sometimes it dissapears. And then an abyss opens up. I start to to sink. Whereto?
    I don’t really know. (again, I excuse my written english … don’t expecte an oxfordian clean english frm my “pen”). I often have the feeling, that what I paint “talks” back at me. But here we have two things, that seemingly has nothing to do with reality – and me. They are are just forms of color. But like watching a rainbow – the longer you stretch the watching, the more the “image” makes itself clear to me. Apart from the immidiate beauty, such paintings teaches me that we have to to look closer, more concentrate, before we “say” our judgement.