Artwork by Suzanne LaFleur

Reflections of Summer 2014 Part I

For many, summer in the Hamptons is a time when the daily grind of life gives way to seamless, sun soaked days at the beach. Suzanne’s Hamptons summer was anything but. On the agenda: Two major art fairs and a solo exhibition of breakthrough new work.

The Hampton’s art scene during summer is a mixed bag luring artists, collectors, critics, socialites, philanthropists, and celebrities alike. The area starts to draw serious attention from the international art world with Art Hamptons, an art fair which hosted 87 galleries in the atmospheric Sculpture fields of Novas Ark in July. The four-day event drew record-breaking attendance with over 15,000 guests. Lawrence Fine Art of  East Hampton presented Suzanne’s highly praised pastel on paper works. Just prior to Art Hamptons, Suzanne was honored with the Art Spirit Foundation Gold Medal for Pastel by the National Arts Club, New York and an Artist Member Prize by the Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton.

Later that month, Art Southampton got underway in the East End. The five-day event also drew record-breaking attendance with over 21,000 guests. It kicked off with a world-class VIP Preview to benefit the Parrish Art Museum. Collectors, culture makers, and philanthropists turned out to view art, see and be seen, and show support. Early in the evening, Suzanne emerged as one-to-watch.

In addition to Lawrence Fine Art, Suzanne exhibited with Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York. She decided to unveil a selection from a series of monumental paintings on which she had been working since early spring. Concepts of time and place influenced these latest pieces. Specifically, Suzanne’s upbringing in Southampton and the area’s artistic legacy observed through former residents such as Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline. Fittingly titled “Serene Refuge,” the paintings are best described as abstract expressions, which encapsulate the distinct atmosphere and creative flow of the area. During the VIP Preview, guests continually pointed to the paintings and asked “Who is the artist?” A slightly surprised look crossed their faces when Suzanne’s greeted them with “I am.” See, Suzanne is assumed to be a collector or socialite, but never an artist. She freely admits to finding joy in trading her paint spattered tees and jeans for an elegant dress and heels. Making numerous best-dressed lists this summer, Suzanne as lover of fashion will be the topic of an upcoming post. On this particular night, she wore a stunning red dress that was a perfect complement to “Seminal Dawn.” This new painting acted as a backdrop to photos of Suzanne that made numerous art and society blogs the next day.

This video gives a great sense of the relaxed vibe at Art Southampton – Look for Suzanne’s work at the .53 mark.

The fair continued at frenetic pace peppered with many highlights. A particularly special moment for Suzanne was spending time with Pop artist Marjorie Strider. Known for her satirical paintings addressing gender and consumerism, she defied convention during the 1960s when women artists struggled to be heard. Sadly, Marjorie Strider passed away this past September.

Art Southampton was staged as a sneak preview of sorts to “Serene Refuge: New Paintings by Suzanne LaFleur,” a solo exhibition at Lawrence Fine Art. Stay tuned for a full recap of “Serene Refuge” in Part II of “Reflections of Summer 2014.”

 

 

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