As the decades progressed, Jackson’s practice evolved from layering colored washes to layering acrylic in a more sculptural fashion. In 1990, she received an MFA in theater design from Yale University and moved to Savannah, Georgia, shortly thereafter. Her degree from Yale, bolstered by her years studying dance and drama, greatly informs the sculptural nature of these later works, begun over the last decade and a half. Known as the “anti-canvases,” these works are highly abstracted, contrasting with her early figurative paintings. To make these, Jackson piles layers of acrylic paint directly onto a table covered in plastic, then peels it off and hangs the drying paint like a canvas, allowing her to layer acrylic on acrylic without the need for traditional support. She then imbues these works with found objects and detritus from her studio—a nod to her love of nature and desire to positively impact the environment through upcycling—including netting, old ballet costumes, peanut shells, bells, loquat seeds, and leather string. Made to look like theater scrims, these “anti-canvases” will sometimes also incorporate bogus paper, a type of material used during set building, which she pinches and crimps to lend an even more lyrical aura to her work.
Jackson was a professor in the Savannah College of Art and Design painting department from 1996 until 2014. In 2019, she was the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant and the subject of a major career retrospective, Suzanne Jackson: Five Decades, organized by the Jepson Center for the Arts, Telfair Museums, Savannah. Her first solo exhibition in New York, Suzanne Jackson: NEWS!, was held at Ortuzar Projects from November 2019-January 2020. Jackson has also been included in significant group shows, including Life Model: Charles White and His Students, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2019); West by Midwest, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2018-2019); and Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, Tate Modern, Crystal Bridges, and Brooklyn Museum (2018-2019). Her work with Gallery 32 has been featured in exhibitions such as Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011-2013); and Gallery 32 & Its Circle, Laband Art Gallery, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles (2009). She lives and works in Savannah, Georgia.