Susan Vecsey adapts the Color Field technique of pouring paint to create a personal language of abstraction, rooted in the natural world and the human experience of it. In a distinctive process that includes plein-air charcoal drawing, pastel and color studies, and multiple pours of liquefied oil on a surface of raw Belgian linen, she builds compositions in luminous tonal combinations that evoke the optical effects of sea, light, and air. Inspired by the landscapes of eastern Long Island, Vecsey’s paintings evoke not just a place, but its very atmosphere.
Born in New Jersey in 1971, Vecsey earned her B.A. from Barnard College and her M.F.A. from the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, where she studied with Graham Nickson. She has had solo exhibitions at Greenville County Museum in South Carolina, John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor, Tayloe Piggott Gallery in Jackson Hole, and Berry Campbell Gallery in New York, among other venues. She lives and works in Manhattan and East Hampton, Long Island.
Above image: Installation view of Susan Vecsey's 2020 exhibition at Berry Campbell
Susan Vecsey was born in New Jersey and currently lives and works in both New York City and East Hampton, New York. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College, Columbia University, New York and her Master of Fine Arts from the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, studying under Graham Nickson. In 2012, Vecsey was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome.
Vecsey had a solo museum exhibition at the Greenville County Museum, South Carolina, in 2017 that was accompanied by an exhibition catalogue with an essay by Phyllis
Tuchman. “Unlike, say, Fairfield Porter, another East End artist, Vecsey is less involved with the here and now. She’s not recording the details of daily life. She’s reminding you of places where you have been. With swooping curves, extended horizon lines, and a mix of tonal colors, Vecsey’s compelling images have the character of memories, recollections, reveries. You’re revisiting sites of pleasure and wonderment.”
In 2017, The John Jermain Memorial Library, the Public Library of Sag Harbor, presented an exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Susan Vecsey. Evoking memories of her home near Cedar Point, Vecsey’s abstract paintings recall memories of the landscapes and seascapes of her surroundings.
A painter interested in creating lyrical and poetic themes, Susan Vecsey uses iconic imagery derived from nature. In a recent review, Gabrielle Selz writes, “Inspired by painters like Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Mark Rothko, Milton Avery and Helen Frankenthaler—all of whom explored the variance of tonality on limited compositional formats—Vecsey creates work that is filled with ideas about arrangement, lyrical color, perspective, repetition and surface.”
References to representational imagery are a starting point, a vehicle to convey a certain emotion and to explore color, form, and shape. Vecsey states, “There is a great pleasure in the whole process of creating from the anticipation, the processing to the realization.” Vecsey’s oil-stained linen and paper works carry on the color field and minimalist traditions in a contemporary context. She begins with charcoal studies in which she draws her perceptive ideas on paper and then creates elaborate color studies. Afterwards Vecsey thins oil paint and pours it directly on to primed linen or paper allowing it to flow naturally with some guidance from the artist. Vecsey says, “With poured paint, timing is everything, and it is important to be decisive with it, and also ready to accept or reject the unexpected.”
Susan Vecsey recently has been creating more dramatic abstract compositions, using bolder geometric shapes, while keeping her quintessential soft edges and areas of raw linen exposed. Many of these new works are large-scale. In reference to Vecsey’s 2014 show at Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, a review in Artcritical reads: “this is virtuoso painting.”
Susan Vecsey’s work was featured in Guild Hall Museum’s 2014 Selections from the Permanent Collection curated by Christina Strassfield, alongside Balcomb Greene, Chuck Close, Eric Fischl, April Gornik, and Mary Heilmann. Mabley Handler Design, Bridgehampton, incorporated Vecsey’s paintings in the 2014 Hamptons Holiday House. In recent years, the distinguished design dealers, Lee Jofa and Brunschwig & Fils, have used several of her paintings in advertising campaigns. Vecsey has been featured in magazines such as Architectural Digest, Hamptons Magazine and Veranda.
Susan Vecsey’s paintings are widely held in public and private collections around the world. Vecsey is represented by Berry Campbell Gallery in New York.
© Berry Campbell