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Suzanne Swannie: Imaginary Landscapes Nos. 1-4
Imaginary Landscapes Nos. 1-4 1980
Lurex, linen, silk, gold, 4.5 x 9.5 cm
Collection, Mount Saint Vincent University
Imaginary Landscape No. 1 - 4 1980
Suzanne Swannie is a distinguished artist with an international reputation for production weaving and unique fabric construction. Imaginary Landscape combines age-old tapestry technique with a creative shift in subject and scale. The result is series of four miniature tapestries woven texture as a design element.
In her essay Women’s Work, Sheila Stevenson calls this series Elegant and expressive. She describes Swannie’s process, A drawing or cartoon is the preliminary means by which Suzanne solves...composition and colour problems. This cartoon serves as a rough set of instructions during the weaving process. The details of colour, shape, and decorative features are worked out in the actual building up of the surface. To achieve the vitality and vibrancy which marks Suzanne’s work, she uses certain recurring decorative motifs which provide depth and she often juxtaposes warm and cool colours of the same value.
With her smoothly undulating lines, organic shapes, and breaks in the requisite straight edge, a tension is created with the grid of warp ad weft. Her decision to present the work in four states intensifies the interplay between the materiality of each panel as an object, and the overall spatial illusion of a panorama animated by a succession of weather events. The miniature format emerged as a product of necessity; tapestry weaving is slow work, and as Swannie was the mother of two young children, smaller size allowed quicker production which accommodated both her duties a mother and the abundance of her ideas.