Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Suzanne Caporael. The Landscape will open on 23 April 2015 and will remain on view through 23 May 2015. A public reception for the artist will be held on 23 April from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. A fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Lilly Wei accompanies the exhibition.
Suzanne Caporael is an artist who places her hand firmly in the service of a mind driven by intense curiosity and a passion for scholarship. As a painter whose interests have been as wide ranging as ice, time, pigment, chemistry and road trips (to name but a few), it is perhaps inevitable that she would one day direct her attention to the landscape.
The antithesis of wilderness is landscape - land shaped by man. Tethered as it is to the expression of identity and power, landscape on any scale is both history and prophecy. With these twelve paintings, the artist begins a new series exploring the needs and ideologies that compel humans to create landscape out of wilderness or imagination. The neighbor’s pool, the corporate farm, and the landscape as painted image are all examined for meaning and origin.
To address the sometimes paradoxical discord between the visual and the conceptual, Caporael deflects a singular or signature style in favor of the constituent elements of each work. Shrugging off the formalist or minimalist labels, this method involves both description and invention, expressed not only through paint handling, but also by multiple variants of focus.
Some of the paintings are episodic, gleaned as they are from lingering looks or quick glances as she drives on rural roads to her studio. We become blind to something we habitually see, and Caporael’s painting from memory of the hay field she passes every day expresses that blindness by contrasting size with lack of detail and embellishment. In a smaller work, “696 (Glimpse, Valley Farm Rd.),” a single sight of a house reflected on a pond is recalled with a spare rendering of dark and light shapes.
Other paintings are quotations that scrutinize or celebrate the work of artists who have wrestled the topic from a vastly different viewpoint. A van Gogh etching, “La Crau,” is cleared of vegetation, greatly enlarged and re-imagined as a perspective swoon. A painting after one of Henry Darger’s scrolls, “692 (At Jullo Callo, landscape after Darger),” is de-populated, and in the absence of their disturbing figures, Darger’s empathy for his Vivian girls is underscored by the care he put into the piecemeal construction of their landscape. Artist and landholder, Richard Prince’s idiosyncratic way of putting his mark on his land is celebrated by a painting, “700 (The pastoral exultation of Richard Prince),” that appropriates the vinyl record covered shed he built on his upstate farm.
More overtly agricultural views display elements of power and control in our contemporary landscape: lushly stroked but rigidly ordered GMO acres of alfalfa, comely pink opium poppies, and a seductive nocturne that disguises birth-to-death hog sheds on a distant hillside, all demonstrate the analgesic power of a man-made landscape to hide the more complicated narrative beneath.
John Brinkerhoff Jackson, author of Discovering the Vernacular Landscape, saw landscape as “... a rich and beautiful book that is always open before us. We have but to learn to read it.” As Caporael continues to reconnoiter the field, these paintings prompt observers to go beyond the view thematically contained by two words: The Landscape.
The artist earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, CA. Her work is represented in many major museum collections, including The Whitney Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The San Francisco Museum of Art; The High Museum of Art, Atlanta; and The Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven.
Suzanne Caporael lives and works in Lakeville, CT with her husband, novelist Bruce Murkoff.