John Yau reviews Suzan Frecon: oil paintings and sun at David Zwirner, New York, on view through March 28, 2015.
Yau writes: "One of the strengths of this exhibition, and of Frecon’s work since the beginning of this century, is the tension between harmony and division she is able to infuse into her paintings. The five largest paintings are all the same size, made up of two horizontal panels stacked one on top of the other. The two panels underscore the tension between harmony and division, particularly since each panel can be seen as self-contained even as it is part of the overall composition. At the same time, Frecon’s use of irregular semicircles and arch-like shapes evoke mastabas, Native American burial mounds, Islamic architecture, and even turbans. In their evocation of natural and made-made forms, as well as their resistance to any one-to-one literalist reading, Frecon is determinedly anti-descriptive. At the same time, and this is what distinguishes her from the formalism espoused by Frank Stella’s famous summation, 'What you see is what you see,' she is anti-literalist."