New York, 530 West 21st Street
Comprised exclusively of mixed media paintings, this show furthers Argentine-Swiss artist Vivian Suter’s singular style of installation, in which canvases flood the gallery space, creating an enveloping mise-en-scène of visual characters that intermingle, juxtapose, and cavort with one another. Composed individually, the works on view – through their unique display – inevitably become an interconnected painterly biome, openly inviting gallery-goers into the artist’s cosmos.
A testament to Suter’s decades-long career, these paintings run the canonical gamut, from Abstract Expressionist to Color Field to Art Informel. However, eschewing any artistic predecessors, Suter draws her inspiration directly from her natural surroundings, most deeply the Guatemalan rainforest where the artist has lived and worked for more than thirty years. The visual manifestation of this environmental stimulus is manifold: not only does Suter gesturally reference the sun, rainstorms, wind, and trees throughout her paintings, but eroded dirt, animal life, rain water, and plant matter also find their way onto the untreated surfaces of her canvases. A disruption of material hierarchy, Suter places the components of her studio on equal footing with the biological world.
In keeping with the elemental construction of her paintings, Suter similarly eliminates any pecking order concerning the architecture of the gallery space. The walls, floor, and ceiling all receive equal billing on the artist’s stage. Through this elision of surface, Suter transposes the experience of viewing art into an immersive adventure, in which paintings are invariably (re)contextualized based on their placement over, alongside, under, and across from one another. All undated, each canvas on view is part of Suter’s far-reaching ecosystem, a network of compositions that visually and physically display the abstracted story of their creation.
A simultaneous presentation of Suter’s work is on view in New York as part of the High Line’s yearlong exhibition, En Plein Air, and can be seen installed over the park’s southern access staircase at Gansevoort Street through March 2020.