Susan Warner Keene

The physical labor of transforming plant fiber into a sheet of paper offers seemingly endless opportunities to consider the material requirements and possible strategies for image making. Focused attention is essential, with all the senses attuned to what is happening from moment to moment, as pulp becomes paper. In this intimate mutual engagement, the fiber, the water, and I work toward form.

At the same time, I am constantly aware of the historical significance of paper as transmitter of knowledge and culture, from the ancient world to our own time. Much of my work addresses the nature of the page as a created space, charged with potential. In the absence of language, other material realities assert themselves, as the apparent emptiness of the “page” invites engagement.  Words, when present, are shaped by the spaces between lines. Attending to this space before and between naming, it is possible to describe a moment.

I work primarily with high-shrinkage abaca and flax fiber pulps, partly because of their capacity for mark-making, partly because of the delicate, skin-like quality of the papers they make, so reminiscent of our own bodies. This dual personality, comprising the cultural and the visceral, makes these papers seem very human to me.

My hope is that the paper objects I make will provoke the imagination of viewers, stimulating their own creative responses to the world and their experience of it.

Susan is from Toronto.

You can see Susan's work here.