Institute of Contemporary Art (UTC) / 752 Vine St. January 16 - March 16th

Becky Suss

ICA Chattanooga presents a solo exhibition of 10 new paintings by American painter Becky Suss (b. 1980) inspired by American author Ann Patchett’s 2019 novel The Dutch House, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Suss' The Dutch House will be on view from January 16-March 16, 2024.

Please join us for an opening with Becky Suss on Saturday, January 20th at the ICA from 3-5pm. Free and open to the public.

We will have purchasable signed copies of Patchett’s novels and Suss’ 2022 @skira_arte monograph.

Image: Becky Suss (American, b. 1980), The Dutch House (Observatory), 2023, oil on canvas, triptych: 84 x 60 inches (each panel), 84 x 180 inches (overall). © Becky Suss. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

The Dutch House

New paintings by Becky Suss (American, b. 1980)

January 16- March 16, 2024

Opening with Becky Suss on Sat, Jan 20th
Reception in ICA Galleries and Lobby of Fine Arts Center from 3pm until 5pm

ICA Chattanooga presents a solo exhibition of new paintings by American painter Becky Suss (b. 1980) inspired by American author Ann Patchett’s 2019 novel The Dutch House. Patchett hails from Tennessee, though the novel on which these new paintings are based centers on a fictional mansion in a suburb of Philadelphia, PA, where Suss herself was raised.

The formation and distortion of memories are central to Suss’s painting practice, and the interweaving of influences and outputs across artistic mediums form the conceptual base and point of exploration for these new paintings. The Dutch House chronicles two adult siblings recalling their childhoods and the dissolution of their family over decades. In the novel, the Dutch House itself serves as a reliquary for their memories, a locus of remembrance that they long to return to but are denied. As Patchett constructs the house through the lens of her Southern American identity, she brings to life architectural and cultural details that feel anomalous to its mid-Atlantic setting. In an extension of this exercise, Suss populates her Dutch House paintings with vignettes specific to her own biography, along with meticulously researched details of the objects and architecture that would have been found contemporaneously in Philadelphia. By grounding these paintings in her personal landscape, Suss contorts Patchett’s narrative of memories to honor her own lineage. Suss’s paintings contain a unique ability to render the large-scale intimate.

About the artist:

Becky Suss’s detailed interior scenes are holistic representations of the sensory and remembered qualities of space. She plays with perspective, patterning, and scale to create flattened compositions that represent the interiority of psychological space. Suss considers how the act of painting, through shifting scale, distorting perspective, and combining disparate references, mirrors the plasticity of memory, continually reformed and revised. Similarly, literature has become a touchstone across her different bodies of work. In Suss’s first “book” paintings, a tome’s form acts as both a repository for her own identity and values, and as metaphors for upwardly mobile ambitions such as education and intellectualism. When her son was born, Suss began referencing children’s and young adult fiction to protest the marginalization of child-rearing. She used the world of formative literature to elevate domestic spaces, standing in direct response to generations of women in her family who suppressed their artistic and intellectual aspirations to assume traditional home-making roles.

Suss was born in 1980 in Philadelphia, PA, where she currently lives and works. In 2020, she was awarded the prestigious Pew Fellowship by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. In 2022, a comprehensive monograph on her practice, Becky Suss, was released in partnership with Skira Publishing with essays by Michelle Millar Fisher, Peter L’Official, and a conversation with Helen Molesworth. Suss’ work has recently been acquired by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Princeton University Art Museum. She is currently included in To Begin Again: Artists and Childhood at the ICA Boston through February 26th, 2023, and her solo exhibition Home is on view at the Contemporary Dayton through March 26th, 2023. Upcoming solo exhibitions include an exhibition of new work at the ICA at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga in 2024.