Exhibition - Don Suggs: Out of Body

Thursday, Jan 6, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

L A Louver Art Gallery
45 North Venice Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291

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L.A. Louver is pleased to present Don Suggs: Out of Body, an exhibition that features five large-scale paintings that Don Suggs (1945-2019) created towards the end of his life, accompanied by related prints. Suggs’s Out of Body paintings were generated literally out of the artist's own "body of work." In each instance he approached a previously resolved painting that he had created in the 1970s or 80s and reworked it not in destructive fashion but in "additive" re-resolution.

Out of Body: Knight’s Tour (1974-2018,) is based on one of the artist’s earliest paintings, in which a checkerboard composition with colorful graphic markings - conjuring the chess move in which the knight visits every square exactly once -- is overlaid with two columns of multicolored lozenge shapes. The division between the left and right side of the composition is further accentuated with a cut out of the canvas board that extends from the middle of the painting to the lower edge.

In Out of Body: J.T. and R.D. (1984-2019) Suggs appended the original painting of an abstracted landscape with two centrally positioned circles that draw on the palette of the earlier work and serve to reposition the landscape into the far ground. “J.T” and “R.D.” in the title reference Suggs’s artistic inspiration (the initials stand for the British painter J.M.W Turner, and Don Suggs’s friend and fellow teacher at UCLA, Richard Diebenkorn). Suggs also employed bold circles in different colors at the intersection of the lines in an askew “tic-tac-toe” grid that overlays the gestural foundation of Out of Body: Asuncion (1981-2018).

Suggs’s interest in totemic form is particularly evident in both Out of Body: Proto (1976-2018) and Out of Body: Wood Man (1982-2018): in the former, four striking orange-yellow shapes seemingly cascade downwards on a central vertical axis; in the latter, the plane is divided by four green vertical stripes interrupted with multicolored circles and bars, that stand guard over the picture field.

This exhibition also brings together three never-before-seen series of Suggs’s self-published archival inkjet prints, all made in 2016. These include his Ominpole series in which he overlaid his landscape photographs with stacked computer generated forms that engage with the composition. In the Pend series Suggs continues his extensive exploration of appending wide-ranging imagery drawn from his early photographs and paintings in more intimately scaled print versions, while in the Folly series he has submitted to pure digital exploration.
In Don Suggs: Out of Body, we see the fruits of a conversation between a mature artist and his younger self: a reexamination and flowering of form and subject through the experience of the artist’s own artistic development.

Don Suggs (1945-2019) was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in San Diego, California. Suggs studied art, film and psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned both an MA in 1971 and MFA in 1972. Suggs was awarded two National Endowment for the Art Grants, in 1973 and 1991. A thirty-eight year survey of Suggs’ paintings, drawings, photography and sculptures was presented at the Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles in 2007. Titled One Man Group Show, the exhibition was co-curated by gallery director Meg Linton, and writer and curator Doug Harvey.

In addition to making art, Suggs had a distinguished career as a teacher. He held positions at Florida State University, Tallahassee; Franconia College, New Hampshire; the University of Southern California; Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, and UCLA, where he taught painting and drawing from 1983 to 2014.

Dates: November 11, 2021 - January 8, 2022

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