Frieze OVR Highlights:
Suzanne Jackson

New York, 06 October 2020
Suzanne Jackson, El Paradiso (1981-84). Acrylic wash on canvas. 139.7 x 157.5 cm. Courtesy Ortuzar Projects. Photo: Tim Doyon.

In the late 1960s, Suzanne Jackson studied art and ballet at San Francisco State University, before touring internationally with a modern dance company and eventually settling in Los Angeles.

There, she met and studied under the influential African-American artist, Charles White, who encouraged her to set up and run Gallery 32, which endorsed the use of art as a vehicle for social activism and also gave early shows to David Hammons and Betye Saar.

For the last 28 years, Jackson has lived in Georgia, teaching at Savannah College of Art and working in her studio. The Jepson Center, Telfair Museums in Savannah honoured her with a comprehensive survey last year.

This figurative painting from the 1980s is one of our highlights from Frieze Art Fair's 2020 online viewing rooms, showing with Ortuzar Projects who held a solo show of Jackson's work at their New York space last year.

A dream landscape depicting the profiles of two faces that are tantalisingly close to kissing is rendered in layers of washed acrylic, revealing a multitude of colours that brim to the surface, whilst others fade away.

Jackson is an alchemist with colour; natural hues swirl together with richer blues and purples, imbuing the canvas with a translucent depth that is beautifully counterbalanced by solid areas of vibrant orange heat and deep red.

Jackson's silhouettes recall mystical paintings or hieroglyphic inscriptions, but the lips are curvier and the tones richer. The couple are bound together by a heart-shaped motif echoed by the bird-of-paradise plant root. Jackson's playful and poetic imagination transports us to her own alluring Eden.

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