Susan White

Sanctuary in Red
September 12, 2009, 3:35 pm
Filed under: thornworks

This piece is in the auction exhibition at the Nerman Museum to be held on October 24, 2009.

I’m interested in this structure as a kind of uncertain sanctuary, suggesting a sense of  refuge in discomfort.

I’m intrigued by and often overwhelmed with the constant negotiation between order and disorder; the sense of  random chaos versus  the need for organizing structure.

The work is constructed of thorns from the honey locust tree.

The holes through which the thorns are pierced are made with the use of a burning tool. The same tool used to make the pyrographs.

Photography by E.G. Schempf


The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
August 18, 2009, 2:10 am
Filed under: Pyrographs

These are images from a newly completed commission for the JE Dunn corporate collection.  It is a pyrograph of the steel infrastructure of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, designed by Moshe Safdie. It reveals the bone structure of the building and   as  construction progresses  this amazing infrastructure is being enveloped in concrete.  As with the one minute videos, this pyrograph is a drawing  related to the construction of this building. The size of the drawing is 51″ x 88″.  Photography by E.G. SchempfKauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / detail
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts / detail 2

Broadway Boogie Woogie II (video still)
June 23, 2009, 4:32 pm
Filed under: City One Minutes Videos

Broadway Boogie Woogie II

Broadway Boogie Woogie II
June 23, 2009, 3:48 pm
Filed under: City One Minutes Videos

Two Men and a Hook
June 22, 2009, 12:53 pm
Filed under: City One Minutes Videos

Videos from the Performing Arts Center/City One Minutes Foundation Project
May 28, 2009, 11:18 am
Filed under: City One Minutes Videos

These  two videos were created for the  One Minutes Foundation in Amsterdam.  Filmed  at the construction site  for the Performing Arts Center, designed by Moshe Safdie, in Kansas City, Mo. USA, at 8:00 am, they were submitted as part of the City One Minutes project sponsored by the One Minutes Foundation. The idea for the project is to have 24 artists in each of 40 international cities film one minute of video, representative of one hour;  the composite reflects a portrait of that city in one 24 hour period.

The videos are entitled, “Two Men and a Hook” and  “Broadway Boogie Woogie II”, after Mondrian.  The Performing Arts Center is on Broadway Boulevard.

“Broadway Boogie Woogie II” reflects the fascination I find in the  movement of materials at the construction site.  There is a definite choreography in the cranes’ dance as their vast arms move through space in concert.  Carrying objects of immense weight  through the sky and across the site they’re engaged in a kind of syncopated rhythm.  It is pure poetry to watch  these  horizontal steel beams swing slowly through the air.

“Two Men and a Hook” seems to say everything about man and machines.

April 17, 2009, 6:39 pm
Filed under: thornworks


I regard this thorn installation as a drawing piece.

The thorn works are made from the thorns of the honey locust tree.

These thorns encircle the trunk as they grow up the tree.

They are not parasites but part of the tree itself.

Like crosshatch drawings, each thorn responds to the one that came before, finding it’s way across the wall, or down the side of a post. They partner with shadows to make a drawing on the wall.  Much as they climb up and around the trunk of the tree, the thorns wander over the wall, searching for crevices, cracks, places to probe in this interior environment.

The thorns are self-pierced, with holes made by the pencil-point tip of a wood-burning tool.  This process of construction preceded the pyrographs —  another form of drawing that comprises a significant part of my work — and led to the use of the burning tool as a means of mark making.

The thorn work is very meditative and transcends thought.