JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING - TAYLOE PIGGOTT GALLERY is pleased to present Fading Landscape, an exhibition of paintings by American artist Suzy Spence, on view from April 1st through May 8th. This solo exhibition presents a range of work completed over the last two years, from near-monumental-scale landscapes on canvas to intimate works on paper and painterly portraiture. Additionally, the exhibition introduces the artist’s hand-printed, equestrian neo-toile wallpaper, produced this year in collaboration with historic Red Disk Studios in Buffalo, New York. An artist reception will be held at the gallery on April 1st from 5- 7pm. All are welcome to attend.
Presented in two rooms in the gallery’s main space, the exhibition probes the history of the domestic space, a theme running throughout Suzy Spence’s work, with wild, galloping landscapes offering a window looking out-of- doors. Billowing clouds puff out over a gestural, almost saccharine blue-and-ochre landscape in Cloud Gallop, as two riders nearly indistinguishable from the field of golden wildflowers race across the expanse. Back indoors, with a nod to equestrian portraiture, another Spence motif, Royal Ascot (flowers) is emblazoned with a massive floral headpiece and gauzy gown that could feel equally at home in a baroque masterpiece (Charles le Brun’s Louis XIV, e.g.) or on the runway of an Alexander McQueen show. Spence’s brushstrokes have the quick confidence fitting for such a juxtaposition; New York school, but make it history.
Spence has been investigating the tropes and tradition of the English hunting scene since her residency at Skowhegan in 1996. The early nineteen-nineties marked a dark period for painting in American art; painters were largely outré, the taste was for social commentary and conceptual art. Originally, she says, “I was treating it as a failed painting, as a conversation about class and taste. But the paintings themselves were kind of beautiful.” Today, she’s abandoned that sense of irony. “I’m very invested in my subject matter," she says, “ I'm owning it.”
The wallpaper, handmade silkscreens based on the artist’s paintings, came about following a brilliant exhibition at the Whitney Museum in 2010, Charles Burchfield, curated by Robert Gober. Burchfield had a stint as a wallpaper designer in Buffalo, N.Y., and Spence loved the way the paper looked with his work. The museum walls were transformed into a living interior. She worked with the modern-day version of Burchfield’s company, which produces a bespoke, handmade product down to the paint, which is mixed locally in Buffalo.
Spence is the child of New Yorkers who moved to Maine in the 70s. She is the daughter of painter Marcia Stremlau, who took her daughter along with her to sketch the Maine landscapes. Spence identifies stylistically with the vernacular of Maine artists like Marsden Hartley, Fairfield Porter, Alex Katz, and Lois Dodd. She completed a residency at Skowhegan, received her BFA from Parsons School of Design and her MFA at the School of Visual Arts. Suzy Spence’s work has been covered by The New York Times, Frieze Magazine, Esquire Magazine, Paper Magazine, The New Yorker, and The Independent. She has received fellowships and awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.