Suzanne Joelson and Gary Stephan featured in the latest installment of Hyperallergic’s “Beer with a Painter” series
VCS faculty member Suzanne Joelson and painter Gary Stephan are the subjects of the latest interview in Hyperallergic’s “Beer with a Painter” series. The piece covers a wide range of topics, including the couple’s respective studio practices, their thoughts about their work, and how they met. Here’s an excerpt from writer Jennifer Samet’s introduction to the interview:
Gary Stephan and Suzanne Joelson live and work together in a building in TriBeCa. Within the building they each maintain individual floors, so my suggestion of a “couple” interview was a bit of a radical experiment. We had to decide how and where to stage our visit. Luckily they were game, ready with Captain’s Daughter IPA, and an array of cheese and snacks.
Their zones are distinct: Stephan doesn’t keep anything extra around — leaving only some minimal, modernist furniture, a vintage rowing machine for exercise, and a fantastic rotating easel. Joelson’s area is full of color, with layered collections of fabrics, textiles, and clippings in full use. Stephan says he’s lucky that he can borrow supplies from Joelson when he needs them; he refuses to buy anything in advance. They use examples from domestic life to illustrate their aesthetics: Joelson apparently doesn’t like closing closet doors — it denotes a system of closed deductions. More than anything, I’m struck by their open, inquisitive nature with each other.
This rigorous but open questioning permeates both of their practices. Joelson asks what happens when two unexpected elements or techniques bump up against one another: collaged, industrial fabrics and the painterly, handmade gesture. Stephan refers to a formalist vocabulary, but turns any lingering obsession with the “framing edge” upside-down. There’s a curiosity in their work about different permutations of “meeting in the middle,” which is, in fact, echoed by the terms of our three-person conversation.
The full interview is available on Hyperallergic.