blue stream tangled wood, acrylic on canvas, 36" x 48"
Tooke's abstraction of the landscape is based on response to the energy of the environment around her. Beginning with an underpainting that sets a powerful tone to the work, she develops a shorthand for dealing with the elements of the landscape translating the dynamics of the landscape into a visual image. Lines of energy, sweeping forces of wind and the dynamics of water are interpretive and expressionistic.
With influences stemming from Anne Meredith Barry and Emily Carr, her palette exaggerates and simplifies the existing colours found in nature, substituting bold contrasting colour to emphasize elements in the composition. Forms are delineated with complimentary colour; the image is flattened. Patterns create the textures of the rocks, earth, waves and their inhabitants to express the ‘soul’ of the landscape.
Susan Tooke was chosen for a media arts scholarship by the Centre for Art Tapes (2014-15), and is currently working with sound, video and animation to create virtual environments based on threatened wilderness spaces.
As a member of the multimedia collaborative team Motion Activated, she continues her partnership with Véronique MacKenzie (dance/choreography) and Lukas Pearse (interactive composer and multimedia designer) using computer manipulation of video and photography to further explore ideas of time and motion as related to the human figure.
Her continuing studio practice in painting, illustration, and digital montage inform her work in media arts, employing stop motion animation, drawing and painting incorporated into video clips of the dancer.
Ms. Tooke received her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and graduate studies in Media from the New School for Social Research in New York. She is a three-time winner of the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. Her studio paintings are represented by The Sivarulrasa Gallery, Almonte, Ontario.
June 2016 Terroir: A Nova Scotia Survey of contemporary art, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
April/May Bloom: Sivarulrasa Gallery show of 4 artists, Almonte, Ontario.
November 7 Established Artist Recognition Award—Visual Arts.
October 2015 Trees and Tides: (solo exhibition) Gallery Page and Strange
October 2015 Nocturne: 3B:Backlands/Badlands/Burbs (Tooke) and Grain by Grain: Live drawing
projection with dance and sound, collaboration with MacKenzie and Pearse.
August 2015 White Rabbit Arts Residency & Festival, Upper Economy, Nova Scotia.
July 2015 Industry Growth Investment, Communities, Culture and Heritage: Motion Activated
April 2015 Nova Scotia Art Bank purchase of painting: Dry Stream Bed, Fishing Cove Trail.
February 2015 3B: Backlands/Badlands/Burbs: issues surrounding development of ecologically
rare environments, (video,audio,animation), Bus Stop Theatre, Halifax.
August 2014 Media Arts Scholarship awarded by the Centre for Art Tapes.
April 2014 Woodlands and Watersheds, solo exhibition, Gallery Page and Strange
April 2014 Lasso the Wind: Aurélia’s Verses and Other Poems, shortlisted for the Libris Award.
June 2014 Lasso the Wind: Aurélia’s Verses and Other Poems: text by George Elliotte Clarke,
artwork by Susan Tooke, Nimbus Publishing, The Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award.
September 2013 Woodlands: solo exhibition, Gallery Page and Strange
September 2013 Motion Activated: ArtsPlace, Annapolis Royal, multimedia installation with Véronique
Mackenzie and Lukas Pearse.
June/July 2013 Motion Activated: multimedia installation with Véronique Mackenzie and Lukas Pearse, Saint
Mary’s University Art Gallery, curated by Robin Metcalfe.
April 2012 Depths of Sorrow: Titanic 100- Motion Activated-Multi-media.
January 2012 Kinetic Studio: Motion Activated(page two) with Veronique MacKenzie/Lukas Pearse.
October 2011 Nocturne: Motion Activated (page one) with Veronique MacKenzie and Lukas Pearse.
August 2011 Transformation: exhibition of recent paintings, Gallery Page and Strange, Halifax.
May 2011 Professional Development: media, Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
May 2011 Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration: The City Speaks in
Drums, written by Shauntay Grant.
February 2011 Creation Grant, Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
February 2010 Residency, Leighton Artists’ Colony, Banff.
Feb-Mar 2010 Up Home: Original paintings,The Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, opened
by Her Honour Mayann E. Francis, ONS, DHumL, Lieutenant Governor of NS.
Sept-Nov 2009 Up Home: Original paintings,The Black Cultural Centre for NS.
April 18-June 14 Up Home: Original paintings, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
April 2009 Up Home wins The Best Published Book Award, Atlantic Book Awards.
April 2009 Up Home wins the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award.
May 2008 Free as the Wind: Saving the Horses of Sable Island, winner Alberta Children's/Young Adult
Book of the Year Winner.
June 2007 Industry Growth Investment, Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.
June 2007 Brave Jack and the Unicorn, winner of the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award, Bruneau
Family Children’s Literature Award.
July October 2005 Brave Jack and the Unicorn, original paintings, Government House,
Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Fall, 2005-2007 This is Our Land, Images of America and the World, touring exhibition of the United
States, Meridian International Center, Washington, D.C.
September 2005 Enduring Community Photomontage: Metepenagiag Heritage Park, Red Bank, NB.
June-Sept. 2003 Beyond the Letters: A Retrospective of Canadian Alphabet Books, National Library of Canada.
June 2003 Nova Scotia Arts Council, creation grant.
May 2003 Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Book Illustration, HRM, Full Moon Rising.
February 2003 Lillian Sheppard Memorial Award for excellence in Illustration (Full Moon Rising).
October 2002 Almost Normal: collaboration with Véronique Mackenzie, Ariella Pahlke and Sarah
Bonnemaison, Sir James Dunne Theatre.
February 2002 Atlantic New Dance Festival: Palimpsest of an Interior Elevation with an Inhabitant
collaboration with Véronique Mackenzie, Ariella Pahlke and Sarah Bonnemaison.
Sept 2000-Jan 2001 A Seaside Alphabet, original paintings, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS,
curated by Virginia Stephen, solo exhibition.
July 2000 Point Pleasant Park: Artists’ Response, Nova Scotia Provincial Archives, curator,
1999 Parks Canada-Monument Lefebvre National Historic Site, NB.
1998 Ryan Premises National Historic Site, Bonavista, NL, (digital photo montage).
1997 Halifax Citadel National Historic Site (paintings,illustrations,digital montage).
June 1996 Face Value: Nova Scotia Portraiture collaborative multi-media work with Véronique
Sept. 1999- Jan. 2000 Artists as Children, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Virginia Stephen,
AGNS Deputy Director, curator (touring).
1999 Nova Scotia Arts Council, Travel Grant
2000 Nova Scotia Arts Council, Presentation Grant.
1998 Manhattan Arts International 1998 7th Annual Competition, NYC, NY- Artist Showcase Award.
1992 Subject Matter: Contemporary Painting and Sculpture in Nova Scotia, Art
Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Robin Metcalfe, curator.
2011-present Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council.
2015-present CARFAC National: President and National Spokesperson
2009-present Past President, CARFAC Maritimes.
2011 Juror, Governor General’s Award for Illustration.
2006 Juror, Governor General’s Award for Illustration.
2003 Juror, Governor General’s Award for Illustration.
1999-2000 Chairperson, Visual Arts Nova Scotia.
1995-1996 Artist in Residence, Saint Mary's University Art Gallery Media Centre, 1995-1997.
1994, 1995 Juror, Nova Scotia Art Bank Purchase Program.
1993-1996 Member, Advisory Committee for the Canada/Nova Scotia Cooperation Agreement
1993-1995 Member, Board of Governors, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
1977 New School for Social Research, New York City: postgraduate, Media Studies.
1972 Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia: B.F.A.