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Forsyth March 24 version 2
Coron Invisible Cities Right detail
Konopasek Indoor Tornado
Woolf A Few of Her Favorite Things detail
Scanlon Dare I Be Happy
Gower Papercuts White gold
Thursday, June 6, 2013
A single sheet of a paper like construction material called Tyvek stretches along one wall, with incredibly detailed scenes cut out by hand all along its length that depict people moving through a surreal city.
Nearby a paper tornado rises 14 feet to the ceiling, with dozens of toy soldiers suspended between the paper strips.
That’s just a sample of the meticulously crafted, thought-provoking art assembled in “Papercuts,” a traveling exhibition on display at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University until Sept. 14.
At 6 tonight, show curator Reni Gower, a professor with Virginia Commonwealth University’s painting and printmaking department, will give a talk about the exhibition, the individual artists and the techniques they use.
Museum executive director Amy Moorefield said that “Papercuts” concludes a year of exhibitions that demonstrated artists using everyday materials like glass and felt in innovative ways.
The idea for the “Papercuts” show originated in the summer of 2008, when Gower was teaching in Scotland. Fascinated by Celtic knotwork patterns, she had the inspiration to recreate them by cutting them out of large pieces of paper instead of creating paintings as she usually would.
She began researching what other artists were doing with cut paper; then a major exhibition in 2009 at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design that showcased dozens of artists who work in the medium further inspired her.
Excited about the variety of work taking place, she assembled an exhibition in 2011, including her own work and the works of six other artists, all women, who take markedly different approaches to the medium. To be included, all the art needed to be made by hand rather than machine-cut.
French artist B eatrice Coron, the creator of the tapestry-like piece made from Tyvek, most closely adheres to historical Asian and European paper cutting traditions, though her work is quirky and full of mythological references and symbols.
“It’s all about heaven and hell and things that are sinister in some ways,” Gower said.
In a TED Talk video recorded in 2011, Coron comes on stage wearing a cape made from paper cut in floral patterns. “I cut stories,” she told the audience.
Michelle Forsyth, a Canadian artist living in Washington state, visits sites of man-made disasters, such as the Exxon Valdez spill, takes photographs that show how nature has reclaimed those sites, and uses those photos for the basis of colorful works made from strips and circles of paper . As a hint of what her works are about she titles them after the dates of the disasters.
Czech-born Lenka Konopasek also references disasters in her work using techniques akin to pop-up books, such as she did with “Indoor Tornado.” Her works comment on the seductive beauty of violence, and are also meant to call attention to phenomena such as global warming.
“This is kind of the point,” Gower said, “to bring attention to our environment.”
On the other end of the spectrum there are creations that are more meditative and repetitive, such as Gower’s own art based on Celtic knotwork, or New York artist Jaq Belcher’s pieces that involve hundreds of seed shapes cut out to create geometric patterns.
California artist Daniella Woolf creates collages out of objects people use to remember things, such as Rolodex cards and Post-It notes.
Lauren Scanlon’s playful works involve taking pages from Harlequin Romance novels, sewing them together and then cutting vintage bedsheet patterns out of the resulting paper quilt in what Gower called a humorous exploration of “treasure and trash.”
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