In Memory of Susan Wood

Published Mar 6 2018

1953 (Saint John N.B.) – 2018 (Halifax N.S.)


With great sadness, we acknowledge the death, far too early, of a remarkable Canadian artist, educator and friend, Susan Wood. Already many have spoken about Susan – that she was positive, patient, wise, professional, beautiful. We will miss her frequent visits to Studio 21, always turned out in some fashionable garment often purchased from a Canadian designer. We will miss her distinctive, low and humorous voice. We will miss her companionship when Studio 21 staff visited art fairs in Montreal and New York. We ate some delicious meals together and looked at art.


We will miss the new artistic treasures that Susan brought to us, created either in the Studio in her back garden in Halifax or at the cottage Studio on the Northumberland Strait. Her Studio was adorned with decades of her drawings, with the carapaces of insects and frogs that were collected as subjects, with pots of bright inks and sheets of gorgeous handmade papers, brushes, pens and pencils, and other artefacts. Wood called herself a “material girl” and these physical evidences of artistic making were very important.


Susan’s latest creations, received at Studio last month, focus on bees, tree roots, birds and the entanglement of their nests. They continue in the exploration of the sensual relationship between eye and hand as she observed and described objects of the natural world. They are each a little elegy to a life of great attention and feeling.


Susan Wood was born in Saint John, N.B. and grew up in Amherst, N.S.  She attended Mount Allison University (BFA 1976), participated in the Banff Winter Studio Program (1976-1977) and received an MFA from The University of Calgary in 1981.  Susan lived in St. John’s, Newfoundland (1983-1989) where she was a founding member of the Eastern Edge Gallery, taught at Memorial University Extension Arts and continued her studio practice.


Susan moved to Halifax in 1989 and began teaching at NSCAD University in 1990.  She participated in numerous group exhibitions across Canada and in Finland, Germany, Scotland and Iceland, and also had a number of solo exhibitions including her nationally touring Devil’s Purse, Dress Drawings and Taxonomies.  A major exhibition titled “Earth Skins: Three Decades of Drawings by Susan Wood” was curated in 2010 by Susan Gibson Garvey, with the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, and Owens Art Gallery.


Susan Wood was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and was a recipient of grant awards from the Canada Council, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and the Nova Scotia Arts Council.  Her work is represented in private, corporate and public collections across Canada, UK and in the USA.  Susan lived in Halifax, and is survived by her children David, Jamie and Aiden. Susan was predeceased by her husband Stephen Fudge.


 There will be a Celebration of Life for Susan at 1:00 pm on Friday, March 9th at Pier 21, The Canadian Museum of Immigration, 1055 Marginal Rd, Halifax, NS.

Studio 21