Suzy Spence


Suzy Spence Biography

“My paintings have always been a fantasy space for me, only loosely based in truth. I spend time observing nature like a plein air painter would, however I return to the studio not to record what I’ve seen, but to indulge my imagination. My core sensibility loves urban camp, dandyism and all things sartorial. I’m fascinated with personal presentation and theatricality, and it seems to linger in my figures. But I like to think my paintings possess their own logic, their own truth, and that each one preserves space for individual interpretation much like a poem does.” 

Suzy Spence was born in 1969 and grew up on the coast of Maine. After studying at Smith College and Parsons School of Design in New York and Paris, the artist attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1996 and received an MFA at The School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1998. 

The first solo exhibition of Spence’s work took place in 1998 at Colin De Land’s American Fine Arts, 22 Wooster Street, New York. Other solo presentations of the artist’s work have taken place at The Grazer Kuntzverein, Austria, (1999); Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland (1999); NeueHouse, New York (2019), Cathouse Proper, Brooklyn (2019); The Helen Day, Stowe Vermont (2019), Tayloe Piggot, Jackson Hole, Wyoming (2020, 2022). Select group exhibitions include Matthew Marks and Pat Hearn’s Painting Now and Forever Part 1 (1998) and Accelerator, a traveling exhibition through the U.K. to the Arnolfini, Southampton City Art Gallery, and Gallery Oldham (1999). She is a frequent exhibitor with David Dixon’s exhibition space Cathouse Proper, formerly Cathouse FUNeral, Brooklyn (2014 - present).

Spence’s work first received critical attention for a group of drawings presented at The Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles (1997); Paper magazine who covered the show went on to feature Spence in their pages on multiple occasions. Reviews of her work have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Frieze, Artcritical, The Brooklyn Rail, Two Coats of Paint and other publications.

Spence’s work can be found in collections throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her work is included in the archives of Colin De Land American Fine Arts Gallery, held at The Smithsonian Archives of American Art and Bard College Library. Recently her work was on view at the Zillman Museum University of Maine (2020) and The Center for Maine Contemporary Art Biennial (2019). 

Spence has been represented by Sears Peyton since 2017 with solo exhibitions Night Among the Horses (2019) catalog essay by Amy Rahn, and Like Racing Smoke (2022) catalog introduction by Elizabeth Buhe. 

Spence lives and works in New York and Vermont.