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Earth Skins: Three Decades of Drawing by Susan Wood
23 Aug 2011 – 2 Oct 2011
Susan Wood Dress 8 1989
powdered pigments, watercolour, pastels on paper
198 x 121 cm
Susan Wood has lived in Halifax and taught at NSCAD University since 1990. Her studio practice since 1981 has been concentrated almost exclusively on drawing.
Atlantic Canadian audiences are probably most familiar with Wood’s recent, elegiac drawings of decaying flowers and dead birds. Her work of the past decade embodies the idea of finitude, reflecting on mortality. It is meticulously rendered in a variety of graphic techniques, often on sumptuously textured handmade papers. The depth of purpose and emotional complexity present in some of these works harken back to Wood’s earlier dramatic series: the Devil’s Purse (1985) and the Dresses (1989/91). These drawings were inspired by women’s corporeal experience.
They speak eloquently of brittle vulnerability, wrote Vita Plume (Vanguard, November 1987) ...in their vacuous hollows one feels the echoes of painful contractions... Of the Dress series (again, life-size drawings prompted by the image of an ethnic wedding dress), Susan Gibson Garvey wrote Metaphors for less-than-perfect bodies, with their accumulated histories, these dresses ... raise important questions for the woman who is repulsed by her own messy biology... While in no way a celebration of biological destiny, these ‘bloodied earth-skins,’ as Wood calls them, struggle with the notion that one’s body could well be a personal resource...even, a vital storehouse of corporeal connections to a battered planet... (from the catalogue, Tenth Dalhousie Drawing Exhibition, 1990).
Opening Reception Earth Skins opens jointly with Tonia Di Risio: Feed on Saturday, 17 September from 2 to 5pm.
Acadia University Art Gallery
The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador: 8 September through 18 November, 2012
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