The exquisite visual poetry of her work embodies decades of sustained mastery …
As a textile artist, Susan Vida Judah makes an ancient art form new again. The exquisite visual poetry of her work embodies decades of sustained mastery and a profound technical command of her medium. She explores and expands the expressive power of weaving and tapestry, incorporating elements of sculpture, installation and decorative art.
Nominator Beth Powning describes her as “a force in the artistic life of this province” and “an important contributor towards the vitality of the visual arts.” As both a teacher and artist, Judah has been deeply engaged with the cultural community and shown leadership through her participation in countless institutions, advisory committees and boards. Fellow nominator, Peter Larocque, observes that “the current strength and extent of textile art in the province is due in large part to the solid foundation she helped lay.” The members of the jury are honoured to name Susan Vida Judah the 2013 recipient of the Strathbutler Excellence Award.
In the artist’s words
What is this work of tapestry? The hand’s imprint; the fascination with bringing an idea to form and with form itself; the laborious building with fineness of thread integrating image to fabric; an eye for detail and concerns about structural integrity; a form of image-making that is not surface applied. It is a glimpse of a vision: the inherent experience of centrueis of weaving condensed in one action for all the meticulous preparation of yarns; its attributes of physicality; flexible endurance; the luminosity of tightly spun fiber; its intimate warmth. I have in mind an image – a starting point, a colour, a form; a simple sketch to follow, or a detailed cartoon. At this point my hand dictates the quality of the tapestry and, by increments, the consequent power of the woven image emerges. That thead, that moment, that motion happening in the short distance from hand to the weave, inimitable and irreversible, the only conduit for its realization. I have adapted traditional styles and techniques to develop personal ways of working. As the weaving unfolds to completion for me, The tapestry is the recipient of a vast amount of cultural history, its geneology embracing the past traditional roots of its makers; the vibrant presence of life. The textuality,the basic nature of tapestry, is that the warp and the weft Interconnect and many tiny elements are brought together into a whole. A metaphor for life forms; for life.