Becky Suss: Home
Jan 13, 2023 – Mar 26, 2023
THE DR. ROBERT BRANDT, JR. GALLERY
“Suss’ paintings attend to the genealogy of caretaking and the everyday shapes that care takes: ordinary fabrics, simple language, routine.”
– Sarah Blackwood, The New Yorker
Becky Suss: Home gathers together a series of paintings from the past six years of Suss’ career. The works come from different stages and projects but together they amount to a holistic investigation into the artist’s remarkably focused depictions of personal, domestic, intimate, and imagined spaces.
The paintings feature deliberately and intellectually crafted rooms, furniture, interior design, cherished objects, and remembered views. Spaces have a deep specificity and speak to a particular way of living and knowing about the world. At the same time they evoke a shared familiarity. They propose to be spaces we all might remember visiting, rooms from a relative’s photo album, memories (perhaps faulty) of our childhood bedrooms, and fantastic depictions of places in stories.
The compositions do not include representations of people. Instead flowers in a vase, an askew position of a rotary telephone, a shower curtain pulled slightly across all suggest that these places have been-at some point-subject to human activity. The lack of figures allow for a vague recounting of the passage of time, both still and stretched. The images could be the way a room looked over the course of a morning or they might elapse over the time it took to take a bath. In allowing for this kind of imprecision, viewers are given the luxuriousness of patience. There is no need to rush through the process of looking.
Home presents the experience of being in spaces that have been constructed, filled, loved, and considered. Entering the exhibition, the viewers progress through a hallway, past a bookshelf filled to the brim, into a tiled bathroom, and finally through childhood bedrooms. Punctuating the large paintings of spaces are small canvases detailing books, other paintings, or a vase of flowers. We are at home, not our own, but in the idea of home where we can think through what it means to create a narrative of space.
Suss’ paintings are also an inquiry into domesticity and the lives of women. Inspired by her personal family heritage and traditions, her work recognizes generations of women who have made homes, built memories and shaped the consciousness of their families.
In creating narratives of spaces, Suss brings us into an important discussion about the nature of memory. Through the depiction of spaces related to her life, her memories, Suss opens the door to her viewers and asks all of us to consider the reliability of memory, its specificity, oddness, and potential to drift into fantasy.
Home is curated by Philadelphia-based art historian, Greer Pagano.
Artist Talk: Curator, Greer Pagano
and Becky Suss
Stene Projects, Stockholm
Dr. Robert L. Brandt, Jr.