Rebecca Suss
Graduate Student

Contact information


Group: Department of Art Practice

Web site:

Personal statement

Becky Suss wants you to feel- a time, a place, a light, a color, a gesture. Every painting is an invitation to you, to engage or not, within your own time frame and in your own way. There is a deep faith underlying her practice, a belief in the idiosyncratic expressive physicality of paint that runs back through the history of American landscape painting in the works of such artists as Albert Pinkham Ryder and Ralph Blakelock, and in the contemporary work of the German artists Martin Assig and Gerhard Richter.  The sophisticated simplicity within her imagery and compositions reflects her early interest in Henri Rousseau and American Folk Art. She exalts in individualism, subjectivism, imagination, and emotion - emotion over reason, and senses over intellect.

Through paint she revels in fantasy and memory, all rooted in a sense of place - landscapes or seascapes in which no one element makes complete sense when isolated, yet coalesces with all the other elements to create feeling that is absolutely personal. She is not interested in ‘representing’ objects or places. Her investment is in combining paint, touch, image, and memory into an honest emotional experience. Poetic passages in the paintings act as psychic triggers, both for her in the process of painting and for the viewer.

She writes, “There is a way that paint can fade out without ever disappearing that feels more like the steadfastness of loss than anything else in the world.” We see evidence of this loss in the twisted stroke, skidding line, sands, scrapes, and wipes that make up the aggregated texture of the painted surface. The lines are controlled and steady, then blunt, wonky and rough. One mark leads to another as they start to build a sad and revealing impasto.

So what do we see in her paintings? The sea, a cliff, some rocks, a road, a bay, a quarry, an island. A horizon that no matter how many miles we walk or drive or fly, remains always within sight but far, far away. There is a definitive ‘not quite’ about the imagery- almost a space, almost recognizable, almost right. She paints her internal emotional landscapes and we come to terms with this and see what we want to see in them.

(Text by Miguel Arzabe, MFA 2010)