Suzanne Jackson: Life Studies 1966-1968: Suzanne Jackson

1 - 11 July 2021

Pazo Fine Art is pleased to present Suzanne Jackson: Life Studies 1966-1968.


Suzanne Jackson is a multifaceted artist. She is a painter, a dancer, a set designer, a poet, and an art professor who has been working and exhibiting consistently since the 1960s. Jackson holds a BAF from San Francisco State University, California, and an MFA in Design from Yale University School of Drama. Her work has been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. She is the recipient of prestigious awards such as the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant in 2019.

Her experience in different artistic fields feeds her creativity and experimental thirst, often erasing boundaries between the various manifestations, allowing her to use all these tools to represent a personal cosmogony. She is a very prolific artist who has produced a substantial body of work throughout the years. Many of her pieces combine elements of abstraction and figuration in the same image. Her latest works are more inclined towards abstraction and experimentation with forms and materials blending in them. Although she is probably better recognized by her large and colorful, almost three-dimensional artworks, there is a considerable part of her production that register smaller and more personal pieces, which are, to a certain extension, less known by the public. That is the case of Life Studies, a series of works she developed between 1966 and 1968, during a pivotal moment in her career, and it is figurative. This is a selection of those, which are distinctively portraits and can be divided into three unique groups: naked bodies, faces, and dressed girls.


The more prominent and more extensive subgroup is the naked bodies. These are primarily female  depicted  with  all  their  flaws  and  imperfections  in  plain  view.  Jackson  is  not  interested in representing the female anatomy with an aesthetic of perfection. She is capturing intimate moments, shown in an uncompromised way. The protagonists are in different poses and angles, not aware or caring that there is a viewer. It confers a voyeuristic character to these images showing these women in vulnerable and private moments.


There is an almost confrontational aspect in these, and they are completely unapologetic. Undoubtedly there is a hidden narrative inherent to each of these pieces. Behind each one could be a story of love or despair, but all show raw emotions. These women are all seated to an extended degree. Most likely after having sex, or  at  least  it  is  suggested  by  the pose  and  the nudity.  Some  show  more  details,  almost  enough to identify the person portrayed, while others are in a more expressionistic vein. Two are frontal views.  The  first  is  a  woman  with  short  hair,  large  breast,  and  only  wearing  blue  panties.  She  is looking  to  the  left,  and  her  facial  features  are  detailed  and  specific.  The  second  is  a  woman  with long black hair completely naked, and her face is distorted.


There is an image of a nude  couple seated in a bed,  presumably after having sex. Both are looking down, probably talking. However, there is a sense of intimacy by the carefree attitude. They are comfortable with each other without pretensions of any kind. It looks like a polaroid picture in terms of the action. Formally, the lines are relaxed, like in a sketch. Jackson is not interested in  describing  in  detail where or when these  scenes take place; her  concern  is to capture  the moment’s mood.


Most  of  them look  satisfied,  but  there  is  one  that  carries  a  distinctive  sense  of  sadness.  The  woman is on her side, naked and seated with her head over an arm.


There is a feeling of loss surrounding her, and her face is consumed by it. She has short black hair and colorful bracelets on her left arm. The face  portraits show  fewer  details. In some of these, the facial features are indicated by brushstrokes in the space where they should be. There is a freedom inherent to the representation in which the artist is not particularly caring about a canning resemblance with the subject. The backgrounds are equally diffused with broad and translucent strokes. The three portraits exemplified  almost  three  different  phases:  one  is  very  expressive  and  colorful,  the  second  is almost monochrome, and the third is realistic.


There are two pieces in the group with a representation more detailed and realistic. These are girls; both are blond and dressed. One wears a yellow summer dress and a hat. Her mood is reflective,  her  gaze  down,  legs  crossed,  and  a  flower  in  her  hand.  The  other  is  a  woman  in  a  blue dress,  red  lips,  and  a  provocative  stare.  Both  are  in  an  undefined  space  and  time,  almost  like f loating in a white backdrop.


This group of pieces is an excellent example of the different phases the artist transited during these years, particularly in her formative ones. It highlights her desire to experiment with styles and  techniques.  In  these  pictures,  Jackson  achieves  a  sense  of  flow,  illustrating  life  at  its  more primal  stage.  It  shows  an  artist’s  work  in  a  fertile  period,  a  restless  mind  trying  to  find  its  place  in the  world. These  are  the  emotions of a  young woman expressing her  desires,  aspirations,  intimate views, friends, and acquaintances, captured in a time and moment, like a visual diary. These are personal vignettes of an intensive period in her life. It portraits the intensity of the times and her experiences during a foundational period. It offers a glimpse of Jackson’s person during those decades and to the process of transmutation and evolution as an artist and as a woman.


Text by Irina Leyva-Perez.





July 1st, 2021 - July 11th, 2021

Opening reception: Thursday, July 1st, 2021

4228 Howard Ave Kensington, MD 20895
Open by appointment Tuesday – Saturday

Contact Luis Pazo:
(571) 315-5279

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