Artist Suzy Spence conveys a wealth of emotion in her equestrian-themed paintings. Touching on 18th-century society portraiture, political imagery, equestrian sporting paintings, and contemporary fashion photography, there is an air of female defiance and haughty sensitivities that feel alive and ghostly all at once.
A sea of fresh female faces stare directly into the eyes of the viewer, intimating intense individuality and a sense of another time and place, while also of the immediate now. Inky streaks of deep black build intimate portraits of unknown women: powerful, raw, and dressed to the nines, with the playful symbology of whips and tall boots. These females are armed with sultry stares of near military strength. “I’ve gotten to the point where I have full command of my medium,” says the painter. “I have full command of my subject.”
Spence came of age in a wildly turbulent and exciting time to be a painter. The nineties marked a distinct transition from work that was socially motivated and conceptual to an art world that championed painting and painters. In 1996, Spence was given her first exhibition at Colin de Land’s American Fine Art Co., an institution of change in its own right.
Supported early on by de Land and his wife, art dealer Pat Hearn, Spence was immersed in a world that questioned art as a commodity with a striking cast of characters who relished in art, fashion, and blending the two interchangeably. She fit in beautifully with work that rings with the theater of camp and costume and that is deeply informed by her background in fashion. The camp emerges from thematic feminism and its her