Leigh Suggs

Richmond, VA

I am interested in an in-between space during the act of seeing. The in-between space lies on the spectrum of the reality in front of us and what our brain tells us. It is within this “pure” space, that an individual can experience an unaltered, unaffected, and unchanged vision. While this purity can only exist for a fleeting moment, that moment defines the highest peak of personal experience. After this moment passes, the sight/vision can never be the same. We are constantly bearing witness to the inexpressible, and this fleeting moment of pure seeing is something we should all revel in.

Deceptively simple and minimalistic in content, my work asks the viewer to be patient and to contemplate what is happening. I explore movement, light, and translucency through the use of singular, pattern producing gestures. The reflective surfaces and vibrant intense colors are a simultaneous reflection of physical and psychological states, which make my work ocular and auric. I make art that investigates visual manipulations as subdued objects and experiences.

Leigh Suggs was born in 1981 in Boone, North Carolina and currently resides in Richmond, VA. She received her BFA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2003 and her MFA from the Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015. Her recent shows include a three person show at The Visual Arts Center in Richmond I >< YOU >< WE (2018-2019), a two person show at Penland Gallery Conversation | Unspoken Language (2016), and several solo shows including Reynolds Gallery This or That is Here, or There (2018), Minnesota State University –Moorehead Reflection as a Shadow (2016), Reynolds Gallery Double Vision (2016); In Visible Light (2015) at LIGHT Art + Design in Chapel Hill, NC; Trying to Exit Here (2015), Anderson Gallery, Richmond, VA; and her notable group shows include Go for Baroque at the Racine Art Museum in Racine, WI (2016), NCAC Fellowship Exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, NC (2014), and Art on Paper (2012) at the Weatherspoon Museum in Greensboro, NC. Suggs has been awarded several grants and honors, including the North Carolina Fellowship Award, a city of Richmond CultureWorks Grant, and a residency at the Quirk Hotel & Gallery in Richmond, VA. Her work is a part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts collection and corporate collections, including the Federal Reserve Bank, Capital One, Markel Corporation, Suntrust Bank and Fidelity Investments.

Leigh Suggs channels her fascination with the mystery and psychology of sight through cut paper works and large-scale installations. She obscures normal perception, manipulating her materials as if optical illusions. By cutting and weaving intricate patterns, she animates an array of materials, including reflective silver mylar, painted Yupo (a thick, plastic-based paper), and ink. The intangible and inexpressible optical illusions created in each piece lure in the viewer, pulling them into an experience of seeing that is at once immediate and elusive.  Spots, dots, and zig-zags roam in and out of focus, leaving a visual residue that challenges the reality of the lines, colors and patterns seen in each piece.  Although two dimensional in nature, Suggs transforms the works on paper into sculpture-like forms through her manipulation of shadows, applied color, and reflections.  The individual is left to decipher the piece’s existence as sculpture or flatwork, illusion or concrete, much as Suggs’ practice continually asks “What am I really seeing?”

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