“To Hokusai" by Susi Cora; Chesapeake
“To Hokusai" by Susi Cora

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Susi Cora has spent years visiting and walking along the Chesapeake Bay. In that time, she has observed changes in things as small as shifting patterns in the sand, to those as large as appearing and disappearing tidal ponds. An architect turned visual artist, Cora decided to respond to these observations in the best way she knows how: through art. Her time at the Bay is the inspiration for her new solo show at Touchstone Gallery, aptly titled Chesapeake. Cora describes the exhibit as her emotional response to witnessing the Bay evolve, as well as a reaction to the legacy of Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai—known for his iconic woodblock print, “The Great Wave.” His influence on Cora is especially evident in “To Hokusai,” a work of sculpted paper. “I focus mostly on forms his waves took,” Cora tells City Paper. “I take BFK Rives, which is a printmaking paper, and basically submerge it, and wet the full sheet, and then with my hands start to manipulate the paper into a new form. It’s still flat as paper, but it’s now taking on a three-dimensional, sculptural quality.” Although her work is personal, Cora hopes that it will resonate with audiences—that they, like her, will see just how impermanent things can be. “I hope they come away with the same reverence of the beauty and the power of the Chesapeake, and the beauty as it relates on a very small scale to the beauty on a large scale,” Cora says. “This beach that I walk on, do we have any guarantee that it’s going to be there 10 years from now?” Chesapeake is on display through Feb. 27 at Touchstone Gallery, 901 New York Ave. NW. touchstonegallery.com. Free. Proof of vax and masks required.