Susan Ruptash: Congruence

Susan Ruptash, Stay, Seichosen Kozo Long heritage washi with copper wire, 67 x 15 x 15 inches; Array, Sekishu Banshi Tsuru heritage washi and linen thread, 37 x 19 inches; Synergy, Kurotani 16g heritage washi with copper wire, 54 x 14 x 14 inches

Congruence | Susan Ruptash

October 25 – November 12, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 28, 2023, 2:00 – 5:00 pm
Artist Talk: Sunday, November 12, 2:00 pm
Propeller Art Gallery, Toronto

Exhibition Statement

The works in Congruence | Susan Ruptash continue the artist’s explorations of the special qualities of Japanese washi.

Working primarily with heritage washi, Ruptash applies minimal interventions to form a new expression for each sheet of washi. She draws attention to the translucency, gorgeous fibre structure, subtle colours, and surface textures, as well as the hidden qualities of strength and the subtle differences caused by the choice of fibre, drying method, even the quality of the water used in the process.

Congruence refers to objects that have the same shape and size. Many of the works in the exhibition are made up of multiple components of the same shape and size. Ruptash seeks ways to amplify a single sheet of handmade washi – one method is to break the sheet apart (through cutting or tearing) and re-assemble the parts of a full sheet to create a new statement. She also embraces the act of repetition in her work as an homage to the generations of traditional washi makers who have toiled for centuries creating this amazing material.

Congruence also refers to compatibility – Ruptash looks for congruence in the materials she chooses to work with the washi – natural linen thread, fine copper wire, and traditional konnyaku starch, as well as the pairings of different washi.

Her work is process based. She researches traditional Japanese techniques for treating washi, often used in the past for utilitarian purposes, then adapt parts of those processes to embed bits of history into the piece.

Susan Ruptash, Sketch 11, Kurotani No. 16 heritage washi with konnyaku, 11.25 x 11.25 inches; Sketch 13, Moriki Kozo washi with konnyaku, 11.25 x 11.25 inches; Sketch 12, Kizuki Somegami washi with konnyaku, 11.25 x 11.25 inches

About the Artist

Susan Ruptash is a visual artist who works in a variety of paper arts including explorations of handmade heritage washi, printmaking and bookmaking, building on a lifelong fascination with the properties and possibilities of paper. Susan’s career as an architect has informed her explorations of structure, form, materiality and process. Susan is a member of Propeller Art Gallery, the Ontario Society of Artists, Open Studio, and the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild. Susan’s work often includes embedded efforts that may not be readily apparent on viewing, but contribute to the finished piece through a curiosity and respect for the materials. For this reason, many of her works appear minimalist at first glance.
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