Vivian Suter

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1949
. Lives and works in Panajachel, Guatemala

Untitled, s/f

Mud and acrylic on canvas
44.07 X 60.84 in

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It is all but impossible to dissociate Vivian Suter’s work from the area around Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, where she has resided for over thirty years with her mother, Elizabeth Wild, who is also an artist. Suter works both in her studio and outdoors, and it is often the case that her canvases remain outside while they dry, exposed to the dense vegetation and climate of the region.

Elements from the surrounding area get stuck to her paintings, including earth, botanical material, microorganisms and mud stains. The origin of this joint work between artist and nature can be traced to 2010, when a storm caused her studio to flood: silt, leaves and even animal tracks marked the fabrics, creating abstract, material, organic compositions that were added on top of those that the artist had made.

In the artist’s view, her drawings, floor pieces and canvases are representations, commentaries and interpretations of her surroundings, which deal with the wind, volcanoes and tropical landscape. Sometimes understood as landscapes, her works do not aspire to be tidy, contained or even unique. It is common to see only a few pieces in her exhibitions, and this is because, hanging from the ceiling, with one facing the next, the visual field gets interrupted. It is thereby underscored that the group as a whole constitutes a physical response to their place of origin.