Sue Havens (born 1972 in Rochester, New York) is an artist based in New York and Tampa. Havens received her BFA in Art from The Cooper Union for The Advancement of Science and Art in 1995, and her MFA in painting from The Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College in 2003. Her work has been exhibited in a number of solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe. Havens is a 2008 Fellowship recipient in Painting from The New York Foundation for the Arts and most recently a recipient of the 2017 McKnight Junior Faculty Development Fellowship. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Art at The University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.
Since accepting a R1 Research University position at The University of South Florida in 2015, Havens has expanded her practice to include ceramics, which are a direct extension of shaped paintings and paper constructions. Representing the embodiment of a journey from New York to Florida and to Turkey, her new body work demonstrates a complicated dialog between painting and sculpture, acknowledging the contemporary discourse surrounding the interplay between the two.
Brick and Mortar includes paintings, ceramics, and works on paper. Brick and mortar in its simplest usage describes the physical presence of a building or other structure, i.e. the bricks, mortar, tile work, building blocks, et cetera. In another sense, it can describe a business which is non-virtual as in a “Brick and Mortar” shop as opposed to an online shop. The phrase becomes both an idea of materiality, but also a conceptual framework for something actual, face-to-face, non-virtual, “local,” or “hands on.”
Prior to arrival at The University of South Florida, Havens’ work challenged notions of geometry and dimensionality in painting. Currently, her works incorporates ceramic forms alongside of larger paintings that use the grid as an integrating strategy. The work is democratic in the use of everyday objects and disparate subject matter, ranging from old commercial packaging, to tree bark, space-dyed knit sweaters from the ‘70s and hand painted auto body shop signs. The result is a kind of landscape, at times a flat patchwork and other times evolving into a modular architecture. In searching for ways to frustrate a tendency towards precision and control, Havens revives cast aside, ordinary and flawed objects searching for a new integration - a resurrected beauty.