New York-based artist Susan Vecsey paints abstractions that are rooted in perception. Her work reveals abstract swatches of color evocative of shapes found in nature. Minimal and captivating, these universal images illuminate how color, line, and material can remind each viewer of an ethereal place, memory, or dream.
Although Vecsey’s work appears seamless and fluid, there is a calculated structure behind each blanket of color. Working from en plein air charcoal drawings, she applies a grid to each sketch to grasp the basic geometry of the image. After determining the correct proportions for the painting, Vecsey builds a linen canvas fitted to these dimensions. Following this preparatory work, she dives into color studies- seeking a balance of tones that will reverberate with one another. Often simplifying what she sees, Vecsey pursues restraint in form and color. Within each work, the shapes and colors unite to suggest the light of the sun sinking into the horizon, the subtle slope of a hillside, or the curve of a riverbed- all embodying the elusive beauty of nature.
One of the striking difficulties hidden behind Vecsey’s paintings is her unique process of layering the paint. Diluting the oil pigments with turpentine, Vecsey thins it into a substance that resembles the viscosity of watercolor. Guided by her intuition, she then pours or drips the paint onto warm-brown linen canvas. Deliberately attempting to manage the trickling lines with a palette knife, Vecsey is highly alert to the fact that she may not be able to control the diffusion of colors. The texture of the raw linen also informs how Vecsey navigates through each painting. Committed to revealing the beauty of materials, Vecsey’s initial sketch evolves into a study of material, color, and soft line. While the shapes are ultimately tied to a natural feature in the world, Vecsey’s compositions become abstractions, a study of emotion and materials.
Born in Somerville, New Jersey, in 1971, Susan Vecsey currently lives and works in New York City as well as East Hampton, New York. She earned her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, and her MFA from the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. Vecsey’s work is widely held in both public and private collections, including the Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, SC, and Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY. In 2012, Vecsey was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome.