L.A. Louver is pleased to present an exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Don Suggs. Entitled Paradise, the exhibition features paintings and archival inkjet prints created over the past two years.
Maneuvering between painting and photography, realism and abstraction, Suggs explores the role imagery plays in our perception of nature. As the basis for this conceptual inquiry, Suggs returns to his familiar circular abstractions and landscape photography.
At the core of the exhibition is an ongoing series of archival inkjet print titled “Paradise Prints,” which the artist first began in 2010. Created in editions of five, each of the prints features a black and white landscape that Suggs superimposes with a colorful circular abstraction. During annual trips touring the American West, Suggs seeks out source imagery. He composes his photographs “in camera” favoring a composition that is vertically aligned on a central axis, which will provide room along the axis for the circular form to be implanted later. Suggs does not manipulate or alter the original camera composition, and rather simply removes all color from the photograph. The circular abstraction that Suggs inserts over the black and white image both disrupts and informs the scene. According to Suggs, “Sometimes it may give us back the native colors of the scene, or the color composition may impart suggestions of things hidden but implied in the photo. The thing that blocks our view is an opening in the picture to further meaning.”
In a further development, Suggs has produced a series of “Paradise Paintings” that follow the same compositional principles as his prints, but with full color application. Instead of a black and white landscape at the base, the artist renders the background in oil paint and with a heightened sense of color. Similar to the prints, Suggs overlays a circular abstraction, also painted in oil, to provide a clue into understanding what lies beneath. In Tuolumne (2013), a spring time vista of Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, Suggs provides a relatively straightforward translation of the colors that exist within the landscape. In Bachelor Heart (2013), based on a grove of giant sequoias also in Yosemite, the circular overlay takes on metaphorical and fantastical implications, and seeks to reveal the inner “consciousness” of these ancient trees.
Two hybridized works on view, Sphinx and Delft at Descanso (both 2014), merge painting and photography, and feature full color archival digital prints on canvas, with the circular abstraction painted in oils. “My central studio practice alternates between painting and photography,” says Suggs, “the governing concept being an ongoing argument with received ideas about the landscape.”
Don Suggs was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in San Diego, California. Suggs received his BA from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied art, film and psychology, and remained at the university, earning both a MA in 1971 and MFA in 1972. Suggs has won two National Endowment for the Art Grants, in 1973 and 1991. A thirty-eight year survey of Suggs’ paintings, drawings, photography and sculptures was presented at the Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles in 2007. Titled One Man Group Show, the exhibition was co-curated by gallery director Meg Linton, and writer and curator Doug Harvey.
In addition to making art, Suggs has enjoyed a distinguished career as a teacher. He has held positions at Florida State University, Tallahassee; Franconia College, New Hampshire; the University of Southern California; Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, and UCLA, where he taught painting and drawing from 1983 to 2014.
L.A. Louver has represented Don Suggs since 1976. Paradise is the artist’s tenth solo show with the gallery.
ARTIST TALK: Thursday, 8 June 2016, 7pm
Join us for an evening of lively discussion with Don Suggs and writer and curator Doug Harvey, as they speak about Suggs’ work in the context of his exhibition Paradise.
Concurrently on exhibition at L.A. Louver (25 May - 1 July):
First floor gallery
Alison Saar: Silt, Soot and Smut / New sculptures and paintings
Richard Deacon / Sculpture