Standardizing Nature: Trees, Wood, Lumber

Susana Reisman, Log pile, archival pigment print, 2013

Susana Reisman, Oriented strand board, archival pigment print, 2013 

Susana Reisman, (left) 1/4" x 24" x 24" Plywood, archival pigment print, 2013  (right) 1" × 1" × 4" Pressure Treated Nailing Strip, archival pigment print, 2013 

Standardizing Nature: Trees, Wood, Lumber, installation view at G44, photo by Morris Lum

Standardizing Nature: Trees, Wood, Lumber, installation view at G44, photo by Morris Lum

Standardizing Nature: Trees, Wood, Lumber, installation view at G44, photo by Morris Lum

Standardizing Nature: Trees, Wood, Lumber

Friday, September 12, 2014 to Saturday, October 18, 2014
Opening Reception
September 12,
6:00PM to 8:00PM
Brunch Talk
September 27,
12:00PM to 2:00PM
About the Exhibition: 

Artist statement

For this project, I have chosen to use wood, and more specifically the commodity version of this material – lumber – as a means to take a closer look at how standards shape us and our world.

Dimensional lumber is largely used by the construction industry worldwide. In North America, a majority of households are built with a wooden structure or frame made from dimensional lumber.

This series is about encouraging people to question and understand the reasoning (thought process) and decision-making behind the 'shape' of things. Moreover, it is about the natural resources we harness from the earth and the form, function and role they play in our everyday lives. Economies and industries are built around these decisions and they 'echo' off the center as rings in the core of a tree. Those standards set the 'tone' for future generations.

As Lawrence Busch explains in his book, Standards: A recipe for reality, "standards (and technologies) are dangerous because they are so easily naturalized, because in following them we amplify certain aspects of the world while reducing others, and we are thereby overwhelmed by their (and our) power." Standards are also necessary, constructive and productive as long as they are fair, equitable and effective. Standards are essential to civilization and they "shape not only the physical world around us but also our social lives and even our selves." 


Artist Biography: 

Susana Reisman was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1977. She received a BA in Economics from Wellesley College (Boston, 1999) and an MFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, 2005). After teaching photography for a number of years, Susana now dedicates her time to making art and running Circuit Gallery. She lives and works in Toronto.


Mark A. Cheetham writes on art theory, art, and visual culture from c. 1700 to the present and is active as a curator of contemporary art. His co-curated exhibit Jack Chambers: The Light From the Darkness / Silver Paintings and Film received an OAAG ‘best exhibition’ award in 2011. He received the Art Journal Award from the College Art Association of America for “Matting the Monochrome: Malevich, Klein, & Now” (2006). His book Artwriting, Nation, and Cosmopolitanism in Britain: The “Englishness” of English Art Theory, was published in 2012. His current research, Manipulated Landscapes, examines the understanding of ‘nature’ in ecological art. Cheetham teaches art history at the University of Toronto.