On view until September 11, 2022
at Tappeto Volante
126 13th Street
Gowanus, Brooklyn, 11215, New York
Tappeto Volante proudly announces Gateways, a solo show featuring paintings by Suzanne Wright curated by Tappeto Volante. Wright’s works propose a contemporary “feminist alchemy,” forging alternative frames of reference and symbology with new perspectives that attempt to lead us to a re-vitalized kind of perception, equality, and empowerment.
Extract from: The Queer Life of Forms: A Journey through Suzanne Wright’s Geometric Abstractions
By Dr. Ksenia M. Soboleva
Suzanne Wright’s investment in geometry abstraction is inherently a queer one. Turning to the omnipresence of geometry to grapple with the moral disillusionment of our current times, the artist finds a meditative harmony in the synthesis of form and color. Executed in oil on linen canvas, the shapes that make up Wright’s new body of work are imbued with rich cultural and symbolic meanings rooted in queer histories. The formal rigor of geometry is juxtaposed with soft colors, a palette reminiscent of Judy Chicago’s early works, such as Rainbow Pickett from 1965. This contrast is further accentuated by the visible bare linen background of the canvas, heightening the three-dimensional appearance of Wright’s forms by revealing the two-dimensional surface they occupy.
A seasoned AIDS activist, Wright has first-hand experience in lacking structures of power through art, and her aesthetic language is deeply informed by her individual experience of collective queer struggle. While much geometrically abstract art of the past, the work of the Constructivists or De Stijl, for example - was marked by a rejection of the self, Wight’s practice is profoundly personal. In contrast to earlier work that fused the female body with engineered structures, her recent series of paintings is non-representational. Nevertheless, the artist arrives at compositions that ultimately function as vessels for memory by abstracting existing architectural forms. Be it a blueprint of the legendary 1980s gay nightclub The Saint, or an aerial view of the Washington Monument, Wright distills these structures to pure geometric form, maintaining meticulous perspective and symmetry. Particularly invested in the triangle and the role it has played in queer histories, she visualizes its various evolutions into pyramids, stars, and Merkabah. This endeavor calls to mind Walter Benjamin’s argument that the physical structures of a city also reveal its social structures and extend this notion beyond the tangible material.
Each geometric form is accompanied by a rich symbolic history and has the potential not only to help us meditate on social practices of the past and present but to provide a model for alternative futures.
It is no coincidence that the study of sacred geometry and proportion has longstanding and close ties to spiritual wisdom. The painstaking precision with which Wright coordinates vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines into a unified, often three-dimensional whole is remarkable. Each of the soft hues that the artist uses, whether pink, blue, yellow, or green, is carefully chosen to reflect her inner spirituality. (...)
Suzanne Wright is an artist and professor living and working in New York City. She earned her BFA at Cooper Union and MFA at the University of California San Diego and also attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her exhibition record includes shows at Stephen Friedman Gallery (London), Charlie James Gallery(LA), Luis De Jesus(LA), Stefan Stux (NY), Claire Oliver Gallery (NY), and most recently, Congruence, I LIKE YOUR WORK online juried exhibition, and The Other Side of the Rainbow, ArtPort Kingston(NY). Solo shows at Wilding Cran Gallery (LA). Commonwealth and Council (LA), Angel’s Gate Cultural Center (San Pedro, California), and Monya Rowe (NY). She was awarded the Kraus Visiting Professorship in Painting and Drawing at Carnegie Mellon and has taught at several universities in New York and Los Angeles, and was the Grant Wood Fellow in Painting (2019/20) at the University of Iowa. Most recently, Suzanne was selected for the Silver Art Projects 6-month residency and exhibition (NY), The Blackball Artist Achievement grant for 2021(NY), and the forthcoming Alex Brown Foundation Residency (Des Moines, IA) 2022. Her work can be seen in the newest edition of New American Paintings issue # 149 and selected publications including Cock, Paper, Scissors, Feminist Landscapes, Strange Attractors, Armpit of the Mole, and Art and Queer Culture (Phaidon, 2013). Wright has been an active member of various AIDS and LGBTQ organizations, including ACT UP/New York, from 1989-to 1998.