I first saw Wiggin\\\'s landscape work in the early 1990s at a gallery on Ledoux Street in Taos. I was struck by its not resembling what is more common in the genre. It is not documentary in approach. These images are not like those of a camera. Her representation of the landscape is about the application of paint and the art of painting, not illustration. I gave further attention to her work when in the mid-1990s she was a member of Slingshot, a group of eleven young artists from Taos and Santa Fe. They shared a sense of mission and a commitment to artistic integrity, taking responsibility for what they did in and for the world as artists. I wrote of them at the time, \\\"Each artist, through interaction with the others, has the opportunity to recognize a new thing within him/herself, often inspiring one another on to a higher level of artistic development.\\\" True to their name, Slingshot members later slung off in various artistic and geographic directions. Wiggin continued her exploration of the elements of art, particularly that of light.

In Taos, artists from the beginnings of the art community have spoken of light as the central natural element influencing them. There are at least three layers of light commonly depicted in landscape art. The first is that of outward beauty reflecting or refracting surface luminosity. The second concerns directional light, that which passes through horizontally or diagonally on its way to somewhere else. The third is the light of underlying structure, that which appears to come from the land creating the illusion that the landscape itself is illuminated from within. Additionally, there is a light more philosophical, the metaphor of light, the light of spirituality whose existence may be inferred from the sublime nature of the depicted landscape.

While Wiggin\\\'s art has been variously categorized by critics over the past decade, the work in the current exhibition may be thought of as having an affinity with the Luminists, the pre-Civil War school of Hudson River painters such as George Inness in whose compositions landscape dissolved into atmosphere. There are also echoes of drama from James Whistler\\\'s nocturne series and recognition of the American approach to landscape of Albert P. Ryder. Wiggin\\\'s painting has enough of a modern feel, however, that it cannot be mistaken for something from the nineteenth century. Successful painting must be of its time if it is to aspire to transcending its time, that is, it must be modern for all that it acknowledges the past. It is here where physical light and metaphoric light find their connection. The Luminists depicted light as much as a living element of the natural environment as trees and rivers. The philosophers of Transcendentalism, such as Emerson and Thoreau, contemporaries of the Luminists, felt that the very property of being, including the being-ness of nature, represented or was in itself a recognition of the existence of a higher order. The transcendent view of both Luminists and philosophers finds a modern interpretation in the landscapes of this exhibition. This artist appears to have been headed on this path for a considerable time.

Wiggin\\\'s childhood recognition of herself as an artist led to studies that have taken her from Taos (where she has lived much of the time from age 14) to Sao Paulo, Albuquerque, Aix-en-Provence, Vermont, Utah, Santa Fe, Boston, and back to Taos. Along the way there were art scholarships, a bit of teaching, a stint of running an art gallery, a commissioned altarpiece in Chianti, participation in a number of group and one-person exhibitions--and several highly complimentary reviews. Reviewers have found in her work \\\"fragile energies\\\" and \\\"soft stillness.\\\" Perhaps, but if so, then those energies are based on the vast underlying strength of nature. Soft focus does not mean lack of structure. The luminescent boundary of light in these paintings and prints connects mountains to sky horizon (\\\"Hovering\\\") and the beach tidal zone to an incoming fog (\\\"Warm Coast\\\"). In wild nature, space and time often lack a definable edge that is absolute. On the incoming tide, where does the ocean end and the land begin? Where dark clouds invade the high peaks, how can we know from our distant viewing where exactly is rock and where water vapor? These forms are structured and real and indefinite at the same time. Nature demonstrates this quality of uncertainty. The scenes in Wiggin\\\'s paintings may come from the use of imagination, but they are not imaginary.

For the artist as creator and for the viewer as observer, there is the lush experience of coming close to the image for the purpose of getting lost in what the paint is doing at the surface, then retreating to see how it resolves into an image. Wiggin\\\'s work is naturalistic in that the eye focuses on one part of a landscape at a time while the rest surrounbeing-ness of nature, represented or was in itself a recognition of the existence of a higher order. The transcendent view of both Luminists and philosophers finds a modern interpretation in the landscapes of this exhibition. This artist appears to have been headed on this path for a considerable time.

David L. Witt, Curator, Harwood Museum, Taos, New Mexico

Suzanne Wiggin was born in 1962, Columbus, Georgia

1994 MFA, Boston University, Boston, MA. Painting.
1990 MA, Utah State University, Logan, UT. Painting.
1985 BAE, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Art Education/French. Junior year atL\\\'Universite d\\\'Aix-Marseille III, Aix-en-Provence, France.
1980 Graduated from Taos High School, NM. Senior year at Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

1996 The Munson Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1994 Collins-Pettit Gallery, Taos, NM
1991 Collins-Pettit Gallery, Taos, NM
1990 Tippetts Exhibit Hall, Utah State University, Logan, UT.
1989 Grycner Gallery, Lahaina, HA

1995 American Academy Invitational Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, American Academy of Arts and Letter, New York, NY
1991 Taos Invites Taos, Taos Art Festival, NM
TAA\\\'s 5th Annual Impressionist Show, Stables Art Center, Taos, NM

1996 Mason/Wiggin, Sandy Carson Gallery, Denver, CO
Slingshot, Collins-Pettit Gallery, Taos, NM
1995 The American Landscape, Trinity Arts Group, Atlanta, GA
Slingshot, Santa Fe, NM
Seattle Art Fair, 1995,Sandy Carson Gallery, Seattle, WA
1994 MFA Exhibit, Boston University Art Gallery, MA
1992 Introductions 1992, New Gallery, Houston, TX
Images on Paper, Collins-Pettit Gallery, Taos, NM
1991 The Creative Edge, The Design Center of New Mexico, Taos, NM
Choice Images, Le Mieux Gallery, New Orleans, LA
1990 Vermont Studio School Gallery, Johnson.
1988 Wilson and Wiggin, Thompson Gallery, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

1996 Southwest \\\'96, Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM. Jurors Willis Hartshorn, Luis Jimenez and Charlene Teters
1991 Women\\\'s Art Works, National Exhibition of Women\\\'s Works on Paper, Shoestring Gallery, Rochester, NY. Juror Barbara Fendrick
National Small Paintings Exhibition, Boise State University Gallery of Art, ID. Juror Deborah Curtiss
1990 Mountain West Biennial Paperworks, Paintings on Paper. Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, UT. Juror Jane Abrams
Utah State University\\\'s Annual Student Art Exhibit, Paintings. Tippetts Exhibit Hall, Logan, UT. Juror, Martin Levine

1993 Altarpiece commissioned by Italo Castore for the Lan Lorenzo a Grignano Church in Santa Maria, Chianti, Italy.

1993 Constantin Alajalov Scholarship for Painting
1992 Flora L. Thornton Scholarship for Painting
1990 George B. and Marie Eccles Caine Scholarship for Painting
Purchase Award for Painting, Utah State University Art Department

1992-1994 Teaching Assistant, Boston University, MA
1987-1989 Director, Grycner Gallery, Taos, NM
1987-1988 Visual Arts Committee Member, Taos Art Association, NM
1986-1987 Art Consultant, Grycner Gallery, Lahaina, Maui, HI
1985-1986Art Teacher, Taos Valley School, NM