This “capsule review,” first posted during the run of the 2010 Whitney Biennial, is offered now as A TOPICAL PICK FROM THE ARCHIVES in conjunction with a show of works on paper by the artist at David Zwirner Gallery, February 13 to March 23, 2013
Abstract painter Suzan Frecon seems out of register with the tenor of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 75th Biennial: a pair of her exquisitely crafted, subtly allusive canvases in homeground pigment quiver with quiet sensuality. The sumptuous reds in the diptych (above) “embodiment of red (soforouge),” 2009, offer a hot sweet to the pinched sour that otherwise pervades this painting-light, video-heavy sadsack survey of the contemporary spirit. And yet, the understatement and austerity in Frecon rhyme with other exhibits: the pulsating, saturated red, for instance, with fellow veteran Robert Grosvenor’s fiberglass and flocking arched structure, or the playful shifts of perspective with postmodern prankster Tanya Auerbach’s trompe l’oeil effects hanging in the same gallery. Frecon’s curves within rectangles evoke references as remote as the rising sun, Moorish domes, Gothic arches, scimitars. An artist of hovering forms and studied poise, perhaps her essays in suspension are offered by curators Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari as a formal counterweight to the melancholy solipsism of many of their video choices.