Susan Weil

JDJ is thrilled to present our second solo exhibition with Susan Weil.

Susan Weil, JDJ the Ice House 2022, Installation View

Covering a period from 1972 to 1990, this exhibition includes works from the Soft Folds, Weil’s mature series after her formative years during the postwar era as a student under Josef Albers at Black Mountain College, where Weil studied alongside Robert Rauschenberg, Ruth Asawa and Ray Johnson, among others.

These coiled, gathered, unstretched paintings on canvas suggest and expand upon the gestural vigor of Abstract Expressionism. They also demonstrate Weil’s long fascination with working outside of the frame, turning her paintings into sculptural reliefs imbued with a drive towards motion.

Susan Weil, JDJ the Ice House 2022, Installation View

Animated by a desire “to express time’s movement,” the twists and turns of Weil’s abstracted canvasses at once recall rolling hills or the folds of a shirt while remaining grounded by Weil’s attention to the landscape.

Susan Weil, Off & On, 1981, Acrylic on stretched and unstretched canvas, 36 x 48 in

Growing up in New York and summering on one of the Thimble Islands in the Long Island Sound, Weil describes how “sea and sky horizons have always made a powerful impression on me. I remember, as a child, trying to see the crisp horizon line as the curved edge of the earth”. The horizon became an object of contemplation, a way of both capturing increments of time and considering our own bodies as tethered to the land.

Susan Weil, JDJ the Ice House 2022, Installation View

In Soft Landscape (1972), the earliest work on view, Weil has hung one of her paintings like a coat. By the pull of gravity, it’s folds obscure our view of the scenery to the point where the geography it depicts becomes the terrain of its own pleated surface, no longer painting as a window onto a world, but a curtain. While the frame may be gone, the horizon line remains.

Susan Weil, Soft Landscape, 1972, Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 9 x 4 in

Susan Weil, Soft Landscape (Detail), 1972, Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 9 x 4 in

This awareness of our relation to the horizon and the passage of time extends throughout the work, culminating in Moon (1990). Through the act of a simple fold Weil carves out a crescent moon from a painted white canvas, creating a singular moment within the lunar phases in which the planetary body’s gravitational pull moves the very oceans themselves.

Susan Weil, JDJ the Ice House 2022, Installation View

During the 1980s Weil would exhibit widely in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, and it is during this period that she would draw a connection with the Nordic fjords and archipelagos to her own childhood experiences, reflecting on the heightened consciousness of temporal and spatial entropy that coastal living endows.

Gravity, take us home.

-Curtis Eckley

Susan Weil, JDJ the Ice House 2022, Installation View

Susan Weil was born in 1930 and lives and works in New York. Her work has been exhibited at institutions across the United States and Europe, including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center, Asheville, NC; and the Museo Reina Sofa, Madrid. Her work is included in a number of international museum and institutional collections, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Menil Collection, Houston; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and Moderna Museet, Stockholm among others.

Press Release

Exhibition Checklist

Susan Weil CV