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Susan Warner Keene

Canada . Ontario . Toronto .

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1. Folio Series: Early Drafts, 1996
Handmade flax paper, linen cord. 27x46x2.25 inches, 69x118x5.7 centimeters

2. Red Ground, 1998
Handmade flax paper, abaca fiber, pigments. 18x29x1.5 inches, 47x74x3.8 centimeters

3. Semblance #3, 1998
Handmade flax paper, linen cord, unspun flax. 18x21x1.75 inches, 46x55x4.4 centimeters

4. Pool #1, 2001
Handmade paper, flax fiber, “drymarked.” 23x22 inches, 58x57 centimeters


My current work in handmade paper explores ideas about states of matter, ways of recording experience, and, more broadly, about their impact on an individual narrative.

As a medium, papermaking interests me because of the congruity between material aspects of the process and more universal natural conditions: wetness, pressure, thickening, desiccation. The sheet of paper embodies such experiences. Paper can assume qualities of cloth and skin, evoking the body and its knowledge, but at the same time it is culturally linked to ideas and communication. In this it exemplifies an ambiguity of identity that we humans share.

My interest lies in inscribing papers from within, or perhaps more accurately, creating the conditions in which they inscribe themselves. The ability of flax pulp in particular to develop high rates of shrinkage, translucency, and surface texture makes possible a language that can speak of the effects of time and change—the scar tissue of life.


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