October 21, 2013

Suzanne Caporael: Found Color

017 (like the wisdom of Smith, 4), 2012-13; NYT newsprint collage, 7 1/2 x 5 in.

It is such a treat for me to come unexpectedly upon work that I love, by an unfamiliar artist. In the small space at the back of Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe was a room full of small collages by Suzanne Caporael that were stunning in their simplicity of color and shape, their absolute rightness of form. There was some whimsy in the color choices––red polka dots against violets and blue––which is odd when one realizes that all the paper was cut from that most august and serious of newspapers, the New York Times.

023 (like Wednesday), 2012-13; NYT newsprint collage, 7 5/8 x 5 in. 

The works play with geometric abstraction, using beautifully balanced shapes, a little off from regularity; but allusive titles lead the mind away from pure abstraction.

025 (like boxing), 2012-13; NYT newsprint collage, 7 5/8 x 5 7/8 in.

Is "like boxing" the boxes of color one against the other, or aggressive punchy relationships? Actually, for me, I am happy simply looking at the inventive use of color and shape, the way a small rectangle at the upper right shifts the balance and moves my eye across the image, back and forth.

026 (like secret resistance), 2012-13; NYT newsprint collage, 7 5/8 x 5 3/4 in.

I love the curve with the color seemingly hidden behind it. And then I can't help noticing that the date of this newspaper is way back in 2008. Looking at these works makes me realize that I've never really paid careful attention to the Times; I had no idea there was so much color printed in it.

027 (like leaving on Sunday), 2012-13; NYT newsprint collage, 7 x 5 in. 

A beautiful, meandering, swoop of black alongside two subtle colors. (which may not be as subtle as my photo shows; the website photos are quite different in color from mine.)

028 (like calculus), 2012-13; NYT newsprint collage, 7 5/8 x 5 in.

I like the way a small corner is turned over on the white square; that, along with the curving orange, hold their own beside the large black rectangle, with text and color circles shifting the context.

035 (like arson), 2012-13; NYT newsprint collage, 7 5/8 x 5 in.

Almost––but not quite––perfect geometry.

037 (like a fugitive Italian), 2012-13; NYT newsprint collage, 7 3/8 x 5 1/8 in. 

The fact that bits of story and image show through the color prevents a purely formal reading of the collages, but I must admit my pure pleasure in looking at their colors and shapes. These modest works are utterly satisfying; their ordinary materials and small size add power and meaning rather than diminishing it. When I can enter a world newly made, from the stuff of everyday, it is an enlarging experience.

I am sorry to have missed some small paintings by Caporael exhibited in a downstairs space; shame on the gallery personnel not to have pointed them out. Here is one from the gallery website

001 (like patrimony), 2012-13; oil on linen, 12 x 9 in.


  1. Oh! I discovered her work online about a year ago and loved the newspaper collages--these examples of her work are new to me and are even more exciting. Very inspiring and beautiful work!


  2. I was so glad to see this posting, Altoon. I have been a fan of SC for a long time, but I don't happen across many of her images online. I can see why both you and I would be drawn to her work.
    Great posting! Thanks.

    1. You're welcome, Connie. I wish I was more familiar with her work, and will keep an eye out for shows in the future.

  3. Masterly use of shape and colour - thank you for sharing these wonderful art works. :)

  4. I love the titles that all begin with "like". I presume they relate to the Times articles where the colors originally appeared. But if not, they tickle my imagination in either case.

    1. I'm sure Caporael would be happy that the titles tickle your imagination, Cecelia.