Connie, Joyce, Su-Chen and the Miami Collector

Wednesday, July 24th, 2002 | Art, Friends

I visited Connies studio today, a very dear friend. She’s been working on a wonderful series of paintings consisting of very rough surfaces, like three-dimensional topographical maps, that have been painted over and then dusted with colored glitter. Connie had cosmetic surgery around the time that she started this series, and there’s a clear connection between the paintings and her own changing image. A mutual friend, Joyce was there, as well as a big collector from Miami who summers in San Francisco and has been buying Connie’s crazy creations for years. Connie and Joyce were in the first show that I put together in 1990 for Secession, my former non-profit gallery without walls.

Connie, Joyce and I hopped over to the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts to visit Su-Chen (who was on the Secession Board back then), for a little reunion and to see Su-Chen’s piece that she created during her current residency. In one of the large empty halls, she’s stuck red-threaded needles in all of the walls, the thread trailing down the walls and moving delicately with the shifting air. In the center of the room, dangling magically from a light fixture on the ceiling, are more needles, bundled together and trailing red thread in a straight line down to the floor below. The thread spills out onto the floor in little spiral patterns that are contained within the boundary of an eight foot square space. Su-Chen’s installations are always stripped down to the most bare elegant visuals. She was my biggest influence when I began making installations. When I showed her my first proposed installation for Haines Gallery, she X’ed through all of my plans, except for one element, and said, “There, that’s what it’s about. You don’t need this other stuff–get rid of it.” It remains the best art advice I’ve ever received, and which I continue to heed.

Su-Chen introduced us to a fellow resident artist, from Taiwan, named Duck (“Like the chicken,” Su-Chen said). He makes installations in the countryside with duck feathers, lots of duck feathers. When asked about his background, he told me that he joined the air force so that he could fly in the air, and then quit to become an artist so that he could fly in his mind.

Look for Su-Chen’s work in the Bear Show next February.

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