Criss Cross, New Paintings
May 23 - June 29, 2013
Opening: Thurs., May 23 , 6-8pm
Black and white film stills are the pictorial basis of the majority of Susan Bees new oil paintings, the keyed-up colors, energetic patterns and painterly abstractions that also populate these pieces make them psychologically complex. The solitary individuals, couples and familial groups depicted in these works are nearly overwhelmed by tumultuous passages of paint that threaten to separate and engulf the figures. Her works are full of tension as well as tenderness. From playful dots and dashes to aggressive, frenetic brush strokes, Bee makes palpable a wide range of human emotions. This show also features landscapes based on paintings by Casper David Friedrich, Soutine, and other visionaries of the sublime.
As Raphael Rubinstein notes in his catalog essay: One of the many impressive aspects of Bees new work is the variety she finds within a given format. The patterns, palettes and techniques she turns to for the spaces surrounding her figures are constantly varied as Bee calls upon her painterly skills and historical knowledge to create compositions appropriate for the content and mood of each work. This doesnt mean, however, that Bee seeks only to provide abstract equivalents for the inner states of her protagonists. Although she certainly invites us to connect the figurative and abstract parts of each painting, and ultimately to absorb them as a single experience, it is also true that the non-figurative areas take on a life of their own.
Susan Bee has had solo exhibitions of her paintings and works on paper at A.I.R. Gallery, as well as at the University of Pennsylvania, Kenyon College, Columbia University, William Paterson College, and Virginia Lust Gallery, NY. Bees work is included in public and private collections including the Getty Museum, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Victoria & Albert Museum, Yale University, Clark Art Institute, New York Public Library, and Harvard University Library. Her work has been reviewed in Art in America, The New York Times, Art Papers, The Brooklyn Rail, and ArtNews. She has had fellowships at MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Yaddo. Bee has published 14 artist books including collaborations with poets Susan Howe, Johanna Drucker, Charles Bernstein, Jerome Rothenberg, and Jerome McGann. Her upcoming book is Fabulas Feminae with Drucker. Bee is the coeditor, with Mira Schor, of M/E/A/N/I/N/G: An Anthology of Artist's Writings, Theory, and Criticism (Duke University Press: 2000). She coedits M/E/A/N/I/N/G: A Journal of Contemporary Art Issues from 1986-1996. Bee has a BA from Barnard College and a MA in Art from Hunter College. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts and at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in New York City.