reviews > COVID-19

How do you continue to make art when your university studio is shuttered, your young son’s school closed, and you the sole breadwinner at home? Alas, this is no longer an unfamiliar situation, and no two artists will have the same solution. No two artists ever have the same solution. Sue Havens, whose friendly abstractions owe a debt to early and middle though thankfully not late Frank Stella, with a bit of Philip Guston and various Chicago Imagists thrown in for good measure, is perhaps better set up than most to weather the changes. Though she’s been building painted ceramics for a series of now-cancelled shows in New York, Las Vegas and Gyeonggi, South Korea, her three-dimensional work essentially builds her previous two-dimensional pieces out into the round. There’s a deliberate flatness to them that can give up being a clay sculpture for the sake of being makeable in an ad-hoc garage studio while a child paints nearby. The result are compositions on 22 x 30 inch paper heavy enough to allow Havens to not just paint but carve, bury, shape and discover compositions suggestive of faces, masks and vases out of neutral geometries jazzed up with neon flourishes. She’s made about twenty so far in a series that is, for better and for worse, ongoing.

—Lori Waxman 2020-06-23 2:57 PM