On The Surface is a poetic presentation of Toronto-based artist Susana Reisman’s latest findings from her multi-year investigation into the nature of wood. Featuring a selection of large-scale colour photographs arranged in relationship to several smaller freestanding sculptures, the artist’s new works encompass aspects of drawing and painting even as they foreground relationships between sculpture and photography.
In her surprisingly painterly photographs of industrial wood finishing rooms, Reisman makes visible, through the material’s apparent absence, the many layers and intensive labour required to resurface wood products for commercial purposes. Conversely, her exquisitely tactile sculptures, left in various states of fabrication and finish, evince the vivid and varied marks of the artist’s experimental method of “drawing” into their surfaces with a table saw. Where the photographs speak to processes of surfacing in wood’s absence, the wood sculptures make present an awareness of surface by the tangible marks made upon them, a visible index of Reisman’s manual explorations.
As a meditation on both formal and conceptual interfaces between wood’s multiple planes, On The Surface is a visual delight that belies a deeper concern and ambivalence toward humanity’s desire for perfection as expressed in its fraught relationship with the natural world.