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Home » Exhibitions » Earth Skins: Three Decades of Drawing by Susan Wood

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Earth Skins: Three Decades of Drawing by Susan Wood

Susan Wood, Dress 8 1989
Susan Wood, Dress 8 1989

Susan Wood Dress 8 1989
powdered pigments, watercolour, pastels on paper
198 x 121 cm
23 Aug 2011 – 2 Oct 2011

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.

Read an excerpt from the catalogue

Exhibition Tour
Owens Art Gallery, Sackville, New Brunswick: 13 January through 26 February, 2012

Acadia University Art Gallery
18 June through 11 August, 2012

The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador: 8 September through 18 November, 2012

Read the catalogue online in illustrated form

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Exhibition Images
Click on an image to enlarge it.
Susan Wood installation viewSusan Wood installation viewSusan Wood Ochre Dragonfly and MothSusan Wood The bouquetSusan Wood, Bruised Tulip 2005
Susan Wood, Dress 8 1989Susan Wood, Janet’s HeronSusan Wood, Large Devil’s Purse 4Susan Wood, Large Devil’s Purse 3 

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