Left: vermilion mummy, 2020. Oil on linen, overall 87 3/8 x 108 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches. Right: hot, and dark lumiere, 2020. Oil on linen, overall 87 3/8 x 108 x 1 1/2 inches. Photo by Suzan Frecon.
The Experience of the Painting

Suzan Frecon

Virtual Lecture

Suzan Frecon (American, born 1941) is known for abstract oil paintings and works on paper that—as she describes her lifelong practice—“speak for themselves.” Made over long stretches of time, her work embodies the durational activity of painting itself and invites the viewer’s sustained attention: these, she says, “are not pictures that you look at. They are paintings that you experience.” In Frecon’s paintings, composition serves as a foundational structure, holding color, material, and light. Her compositions are characterized by asymmetrically balanced forms in precise spatial and proportional relationships. The artist mixes pigments and oils to differing effects, and her almost tactile use of color and contrasting matte and shiny surfaces heightens the visual experience of her work. Colors and surfaces vary in terms of density and reflectivity, and areas in the compositions frequently shift between dark and light. Figure can become ground and ground can become figure, or as the artist prefers to define it, full and empty space.


Frecon has exhibited widely in the United States and internationally. In 2008, her work was the subject of a major solo exhibition, form, color, illumination: Suzan Frecon painting, at The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, which traveled to the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland. She has participated in a number of group exhibitions such as the 2000 and 2010 Whitney Biennials. In 2016, Frecon received the Artist Award from the Artists’ Legacy Foundation in Oakland, California. She lives and works in New York.

Suzan Frecon. Photo by Julie Brown Harwood.

This virtual program is made possible with the support of Prada.

llibre vermell, 2021. Oil on linen, overall 109 x 87 3/8 inches. Photo by Suzan Frecon.

David Zwirner

Lawrence Markey Inc.

Left: vermilion mummy, 2020. Oil on linen, overall 87 3/8 x 108 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches. Right: hot, and dark lumiere, 2020. Oil on linen, overall 87 3/8 x 108 x 1 1/2 inches. Photo by Suzan Frecon.