Suzanna Fields left Abingdon, Virginia, in 1993 to attend Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia, which is where she discovered her artistic ability.
“I really credit my art history and studio teachers for awakening that in me.I wasn’t involved in visual arts really. My mom is a very talented crafter (she is known for her beaded flowers and jewelry.). I see now how watching her always making things really modeled for me what it was like to have a daily art practice.”
Fields went on to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, for her MFA in painting and stayed in Richmond to continue her art career. She also worked at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for several years.
She describes her work as “hyper-intricate organic abstraction paintings drawn from natural forms and structures. I use acrylic paint, mediums and ink in unconventional ways that echo processes in the natural world and the precarious systems around us.”
She is inspired by the natural world. “This is where growing up in Abingdon and being immersed in the landscape informs my work. I am very interested in how nature is such a part of us and yet incredibly strange to us at the same time. The forms in my work map sort of psychologically tinged inner landscapes, where loosely held together systems connect from a micro to a macro level. This feels especially relevant these days.
“I don’t think you fully understand how a place affects or defines you until you grow older and get a little distance from it. Being from Appalachia gives you a grounded perspective. It is such a distinct sense of place in terms of the landscape, the culture, the music, the arts and the sense of self-reliance,” Fields says.
Her art has been exhibited at The Quirk Gallery in Charlottesville, Virginia; the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia; Swan Coach House Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia; New Gallery of Modern Art, Charlotte, North Carolina; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia; Lauren Roger Museum of Art, Laurel, Mississippi, among many others.
Her work is in many collections including Capital One, Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, Phillip Morris, Shepard and Amanda Fairey, Kathie and Stephen Markel and Bill and Pam Royall, among others.
One of her career highlights is spending part of the winter in a residency in Key West, Florida, and having solo shows at the Eleanor Wilson Museum at Hollins University and Quirk Gallery in Richmond, Virginia.
“Each show is an opportunity to see a body of work come together, and you learn so much through that process. The future is a little in limbo for everyone at the moment isn’t it? I have work in the Homeward Bound show at the Taubman Museum in Roanoke that has a revised exhibition date of Nov. 6 that will hopefully be able to go forward. I am trying to process all that has happened and make a new body of work since my last solo show in February. Working out new ideas always takes time. That process has been more chaotic than usual with so much happening in 2020.
“I think it is tempting for people to romanticize the creative life. I definitely feel lucky to be able to make art. My work is labor intensive though, so the tradeoff is that day to day it requiresdiscipline,a constantnegotiatingof your time. You always feel like you should be in the studio.
“I have another job, like many artists. I also cook a lot, which feels a lot like painting in that it requires creativity, problem solving and a good bit of improvising. I am always drawn to gardening where the forms and processes inspire my work.I also love live music (also something very inspired by growing up in Appalachia) and am missing it a lot these days,” Fields says.
For more information about Fields, visit www.suzannafields.com.