These three impressive works of art, Speaking Great Silence, Singing the Season and Raven’s Song, each make powerful statements. A trilogy, their voices echo through the heart of a viewer as few other pieces can. Each of the wall-mounted sculptures carries through the theme of voices and listening to nature. Susan Point has given each work a unique voice and message. The trick, from a viewer’s standpoint, is to be available to listen.
Each piece of this limited edition set features a face, approximately 1 metre (40 inches) in diameter, lying in the centre of its design. On each of the faces, which are cast in different colours of paper, the lips are pursed, illustrating the sounds and messages that form the overall theme of the group. Behind the faces are individual mounts that elaborate on the story of the individual piece. The first sculpture in the trilogy, Speaking Great Silence, features a face cast in paper made from cedar bark. Other sculptures by Susan Point (three house posts and a beam) also came from the same tree that provided this bark, as did the carved mould for the three paper casts. For Point, this fact emphasizes the nature of the piece. “The title,” she explains, “reflects the loud silence experienced when deep in a dark forest of towering cedar giants.” The carved red cedar mount for Speaking Great Silence is a disk approximately 1.5 metres (60 inches) in diameter. Around the face are carved and painted deer. The deer is an animal known for its ability to move silently through the forest. Silence can be one of the most frightening and most powerful sounds humans can experience. It is often our discomfort with, or outright fear of, silence that causes us to attempt to drown it out with needless talk and noise. Unless the mind is quiet, silence can be difficult to even hear and appreciate.
—Susan Point as told to Vesta Giles
Coast Salish (Musqueam)
Susan began making limited edition prints on her kitchen table in 1981 while working as a legal secretary. She received several early commissions, which established her reputation for innovative proposals and for completing projects on time, on budget and at the highest level. She took courses in silver, casting and carving, all of which led to monumental sculptures in mixed media, and she was the first Northwest Coast artist to work in glass. She continues to release a number of print editions each year, but her focus has been on commissioned sculpture.
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