September 10 – October 16, 2016
Opening Reception and Book Signing | Sunday, September 11 | 12-5 pm
Member Event – please watch the mail for your invitation
Artist will be present at the Opening
Susan White’s newly released photo book Thorn Work is a compendium of works that she has created over the past six years. Signed copies will be available for sale at The Volland Store.
Saturday, September 17, 2 pm
“Creating a Thorn Work” – a demonstration by Susan White, using thorns contributed by the audience to create a community sculpture.
Sunday, September 18, 2 pm
“The Art and Science of Native Species” – Carol Blocksome, Research Professor at Kansas State University, specializing in Range Management, will speak about invasive species prevalent in the Flint Hills, their impacts on land management, and the latest research on methods of control. Susan White will be present and will continue work on the community sculpture.
I make two and three dimensional drawings.
Working with thorns from the honey locust tree I create wall installations and discrete sculptures that I regard as three-dimensional drawings.
The thorns grow up and around the trunk of the tree as a form of protection,
preventing animals from eating the bark and re-directing them to eat the honey-sweet pods along the branches, thereby disseminating the seeds.
I use the pencil point tip of a burning tool to burn a hole in each thorn through which they are self-doweled. Their inherent geometry shapes the work.
Honey locust thorns carry the potential for very real danger or harm, as well as religious implications. I embrace the ambiguity, the complex metaphors, the thorns bring to the work.
I also create pyrographs, drawings made with the use of a burning tool.
Through these organic abstractions I explore the elemental relationship of the body to the landscape, the cellular nature of the body, the granular nature of the soil, the sense of time and space in the natural world. The horizon line and the prairie sky are ever present.
When exhibiting at the Salina Art Center several years ago, I made many trips across I-70 through the heart of the Konza prairie. I saw the landscape in all seasons but most remarkable was the spring in which the burning of the fields to restore nitrogen to the soil is a routine process, a fertility ritual in a way.
This burning of the prairie is seminal to the pyrographs.
I use the pointed tip of a burning tool to draw the mark into and out of the paper. There is an intimacy to the process as I make millions of burns in the surface accentuating pores, finding crevices.
I think of the pyrographs as time-based drawings. I take pleasure in the contrast that time-based work generally refers to video, a high tech medium, while the time-based aspect of the pyrographs refers to the very low-tech practice of responding to the heat from the burning tool. By moving the scorching tip slowly, holding it longer in place, it sometimes burns a hole in the paper, while moving it lightly, quickly over the surface varies the tone of the mark from dark to almost translucent.
In 2010 I had a residency in Tokyo. That experience has found its way into my work in myriad ways: through a sense of topography, of quietness, of stillness, of commitment to and trust in process to find the way. I find that this influence provides a veiled presence pervasive throughout these works.