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Michiko Suzuki | Flicker of Life ~ Selected Works (1992-2008)


For Michiko Suzuki, the simple act of creation is not enough; is it only when the viewer connects with her art that she feels her work becomes complete. Even the titles of her prints are designed to invoke viewer participation; she calls many of her works "A Feeler" in honour of the people who wish to touch her works visually, emotionally, and physically. Suzuki says her work strives to bring back the moment of meditation, the sensuous perception of simple beauty - the kind of moment that she believes has been lost in our ceaseless drive towards efficiency. Suzuki's images seem to flow like water across the paper. It's not surprising to learn that the ocean and all the creatures that live in its depths fascinate her. Yet nothing is the prints refers to a particular sea creature - it is the abstract essence of life forms that is the source of her meditation. 

She has written: "We live in a world where our sense of space and distance is shrinking... our physical space is getting more and more crowded. However, in out fast-paced society, so too is our mental space. It seems everything around us is moving at an ever-quickening pace... There seems to be little mental space left for meditation: to contemplate and appreciate the present moment, and to admire the beauty around us. Human beings are out of balance. Art is a balancer: I hope that people achieve a balance between a sense of time and a sense of space."

Over the past 30 years Suzuki has developed her own unique printmaking technique which is both visceral and involved. She first lays liquid ground on a plate which rotates vertically, shaping the images with a hairdryer./ The demand to work quickly helps her capture the fleeting nature of the moment and the resulting forms speak to the deftness of touch and a sense of fluidity. The forms are surrounded by empty space in order to provide delicate balance. Balance, feeling, understanding and the desire to touch are all echoed by the process and the viewer, when left with the piece, is encouraged to relate to the emptiness to find something beyond.

The richly textured surfaces capture and defuse light in an intriguing way allowing the images to become illuminated as if from a light source which radiates beyond the surface. The resulting effect allows the images to become suspended and animated in the space in-between the view and the surface. The order to achieve these atmospheric complexities, Michiko Suzuki employs a variety of media constantly experimenting with new sources of mark making including drypoint, collagraph, woodcut, silkscreen, metallic pigment and stencil. In 1993, Suzuki developed a technique that she called toner-etching that had further allowed her to produce there highly personal images and provide her the capability of capturing such sensitivity and detail. Each method she employs offers its own unique fingerprint which further heightened by the selected combinations of paper. 

Michiko Suzuki was born in Japan and has been exhibiting internationally since graduating with an honours degree in graphic design in 1974. From 1981 to 1987 she trained and worked as a master printer at Print House OM in Yokohama, Japan. In 2002, she was invited as a visiting artist in the printmaking department at the University of Alberta, and then in 2003 was invited as the first artist-residence in the printmaking department of Capilano College, North Vancouver, where she worked in collaboration with the head of the printmaking faculty, Wayne Eastcott. The resulting prints were exhibited in 2003, 2005, and 2006 in both Tokyo and Vancouver. In 2005 Michiko Suzuki immigrated to Canada after marrying Wayne Eastcott and she now lives and works out of her studio just outsider of Vancouver.