The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art is proud to present Sue Havens: Cull, an exhibition of new works by Florida-based artist Sue Havens, from April 19 to July 9, 2021. Cull is a mid-career survey and the first solo museum exhibition focused on Havens’ prolific production in two and three-dimensional works since 2016.
Anchoring both walls of the exhibition space is the public debut of a series of 22 x 30 inch paintings created from March 2020 to present. Curator Jason Lazarus describes these “pandemic paintings” as “a compressor, kettle, and prism” of the artist’s work from the past twenty years. Havens outlines her goal most simply as a question: “What is it to search for form?”
Each painting puts the viewer in confrontation and dialogue with what might be described as a head, vessel, figure, trophy, or container, backgrounded by shifting, layered fields of color and marks that recede, move forward, or begin to permeate the vessel itself.
Occupying the floor space, a plinth supports new ceramic work from the past five years that traces wide experimentation with ceramic vessel structure, color logic, and surface, all while maintaining a thread of forms that make physical these same figures in real space. Yet, as the viewer moves around them, they relentlessly reconfigure themselves depending on the viewer's perspective.
Already partly developed in March 2020 when the pandemic shutdown struck, the exhibition had to be reimagined as the artist watched her work respond to the new reality. “The world went flat,” Havens recalls. “Things condensed, flattened to 2D. I felt as if I was trying to obsessively carve away, dig away to find a form, frustrated.”
Through the parallel threads of ceramics made over the years and pandemic paintings made over recent months, Cull continues an ongoing collapse and expansion between two and three dimensions using her vessel-figures as her shape-shifting muse.
As the artist states, “These things were made with discovery as intention, not to illustrate an idea. I am still not sure what they are. But the fact that they were made in this confusing, unsure, fear-based politically insane time, I think, is perhaps, somehow, there. It has to be. Even the record of a series of lines is a record of a hand which has an intention to steady itself...”
The exhibition is curated by Jason Lazarus, a Florida-based artist, curator, and educator whose work explores vision and visibility.