Leigh Suggs channels her fascination with the mystery and psychology of sight through cut paper works and large-scale installations. She obscures normal perception, manipulating her materials as if optical illusions. By cutting and weaving intricate patterns, she animates an array of materials, including reflective silver mylar, painted Yupo (a thick, plastic-based paper), and ink. The intangible and inexpressible optical illusions created in each piece lure in the viewer, pulling them into an experience of seeing that is at once immediate and elusive. Spots, dots, and zig-zags roam in and out of focus, leaving a visual residue that challenges the reality of the lines, colors and patterns seen in each piece. Although two dimensional in nature, Suggs transforms the works on paper into sculpture-like forms through her manipulation of shadows, applied color, and reflections. The individual is left to decipher the piece’s existence as sculpture or flatwork, illusion or concrete, much as Suggs’ practice continually asks “What am I really seeing?”.
Suggs was born in 1981 in North Carolina and currently resides in Richmond, VA. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2003 and her Master of Fine Arts in Craft and Material Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015. She has mounted exhibitions at Reynolds Gallery, Quirk Gallery, and Anderson Gallery, all, Richmond, VA; LIGHT Art + Design, Chapel Hill, NC; The Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC; Weatherspoon Museum in Greensboro, NC; Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI; and The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, WI. Suggs has been awarded several grants and honors, including the North Carolina Fellowship Award and a residency at the Quirk Hotel & Gallery. Her work is held in the collections of Markel Corporation and Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, and Fidelity Investments in Boston, as well as multiple private collections in North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, and New York.