In the artist’s debut solo presentation with Micki Meng, Sara Suppan’s collection of new paintings brings sincere attention to commonplace absurdities. Generating a good-humored tension between formal and casual modes of picture-making, scenes that seem spontaneously captured by a phone camera are painted with diligent precision. The paintings’ lush and tenacious realism, executed in the slower medium of oil on panel, gives a strange gravity to passing moments of levity.
Selected subjects display themselves like proof that novelty can be found laced throughout slices of daily life. Comedic schemas between pairings play out; knotted shoelaces render two feet immobile, a plastic horse rides the rim of a crystal wine glass, a cat butt protrudes from an ornately patterned couch, and sun catchers decorate a sky with no sun. The scenarios conclude with unexpected twists akin to a joke’s punchline.
Finding joy in boredom and delight in simple pleasures, the works encourage us to notice the small miracles that show up if we’re looking for them, defusing the humdrum austerity of chore and routine. Exemplified in Rainbow, a humorous exchange between two and three dimensions occurs as a flat metal measuring tape snap-bends in concave whimsy.
The lives of plants and people converge in earnest albeit awkward exchanges, as in Pocket Painting, where a bright paper flower springs from a black and white herringbone coat pocket, or Prty, as a gold hoop earring accessorizes a monstera leaf. Similar to literary autobiographical fiction, affable images plucked from everyday encounters are given weight through scrupulous execution. Treating mundanity with equal parts jest and veracity, Suppan imbues small peculiarities, often overlooked, with auras of warmth, significance, and sentimentality.
Sara Suppan (b. 1994, Minneapolis, MN; lives and works in Minneapolis) received a BA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2015. Suppan has most recently exhibited with Kutlesa (Goldau, Switzerland), Yeah Maybe (Minneapolis), and Minneapolis Institute of Art. She participated in a summer artist residency and Salzburger Kunstverein (Austria) in 2019 and was awarded a Creative Support for Individuals grant in 2021 and an Artist Initiative grant in 2017 from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Her paintings have been published in New American Paintings and in Young Space online. Forthcoming projects include a group exhibition at SENS Gallery (Hong Kong).