Vermont Arts Council

The People’s Choice Award: Suzy Spence

74: Suzy Spence

Create a silk-screen artwork edition of women athletes

SUZY SPENCE (born in Boston 1969) grew up on Mount Desert Island in Maine before attending Smith College and Parsons School of Design (1992). She was a Fellow at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1996), and received an MFA at the School of Visual Arts (1998). Spence had her first solo exhibition in 1998 at Colin De Land’s, American Fine Arts, a gallery at the intersection of art, performance, and institutional critique, the archives of which are held at The Smithsonian Archives of American Art and Bard College Library. Suzy Spence is represented by Sears Peyton Gallery (New York and L.A.), Tayloe Piggott Gallery (Jackson Hole, WY), and is a frequent exhibitor with the curated exhibition space Cathouse Proper (Brooklyn). Her work has received critical praise in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Paper Magazine, Artcritical, The Brooklyn Rail, and other publications. She lives and works in Montpelier, Vermont.

Project description

I hope that the viewer will connect with my images of women athletes (and myself and other women painters), in the presence of the work. My images of women jockeys in moments of individual athletic pursuit, were created in the spirit of gender performance and masquerade, inspired by the clothes, camaraderie and competition in and around “the racetrack”. “Drag” as in cross-dressing, and “drawing” share a root in the Old English dragan;  to search, to draft, to mark, to paint, to blur distinctions, to perform, to masquerade. All of my paintings are physically demanding on some level, and indeed I equate the act of painting ( and drawing and printmaking ) with sport itself.

Media Sample 1

“Dirty Yellow Racer.” My project theme is female equestrian athletes. This is watercolor on paper, I will be making a similar work as silkscreen on paper.

Media Sample 2

“Star Racer.” This is paint on panel.

Media Sample 3

“Rider’s Revel Wallpaper.” This is an example of a past silk screen project making handmade wallpaper.

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Desmond Peeples August 23, 2023