Portrait of an Artist: Suzo Hickey

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      A collection of new works from established Vancouver painter Suzo Hickey are on display at Rhizome Café [317 East Broadway] May 24 to July 17.

      The exhibition of acrylic-on-canvas works, Everything that is in front of me: East Van Landscapes, continues Hickey’s study of the neighbourhood.

      The Straight reached Hickey by phone.

      What is East Van Landscapes all about?

      Initially I was looking for a subject that could let me address the formal concerns of painting. I’ve been a painter for years and I didn’t feel like I wanted to put together a big show about anything in particular. I’d had shows at mostly artist-run centres before and it would be addressing some issue and I just wanted to concentrate on the painting itself. And then this kind of coincided with this revolution I had that I was going to walk more, get out of my car and walk more.

      What was the typical starting point with each canvas?

      For a lot of them, actually, they started off as a painting from the past and there was a lot of recycling of canvases where I’d think, “Okay, I’m done with this painting.” But also, if it was a blank one, I’d paint a whole background onto it. I went through a lot where I just painted stripes, stripes, stripes, or geometric patterns, or all sorts of things. And then when you paint over, a little bit of that comes through.

      What did you learn from working on these paintings?

      It’s interesting because I’ve been working on”¦this same subject matter for a few years now, which is something I’ve never done before”¦.What I’ve felt is it’s really helped me learn how to paint better because I’m just taking the time and, because the subject to me is just sort of endlessly varied, it’s held my interest for a long time.

      Portrait of An Artist is a new feature on Straight.com that profiles local visual artists. Suggest an artist to profile in the comments section below or by sending a message via Twitter to twitter.com/thomsonstraight.



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