Paper Appreciation

- 07th of Mar. 2010 -

...works that are so visually enticing and so charged with energy, both emotional and physical.

I am an artist / art lover married to a designer.  We have discussions, pretty much on a regular basis, about what constitutes art.  As a designer, my husband had always been arguing that as long as something has meaning and comes from a creative place, it can be described as art. Over the years, I have come to realize that art is not only what is exhibited at a gallery, museum or art fair.  This may have been true until a few years ago, when the lines between art, design and craft started dissolving. At this point, with New Media exploring new realms within these three worlds, I think that there are no clear limits between them.

Recently, we went to see Slash, Paper Under the Knife, at the Museum of Art and Design.  Needless to say that this show was the perfect ground for us to get into this time-old discussion once more - is it art, craft or design?  The works displayed all dealt with at least one attribute of those realms, and were generally a mix between them.  Taking from the many paper handling techniques and probably inventing a few new ones, the pieces at the show showcased the transition this medium has made over the last few years: from works ON paper, to works that ARE paper.

This transition has been in the works for quite a while, it seems, as a simple search revealed that many galleries have organized group shows of artists who work with paper as a three dimensional medium, implementing new technologies or using their bare hands.  The flexibility of the medium, which allows one to cut, paste, color, puncture, layer, burn and more, creates shows that are generally diverse and always interesting. 

At the Slash show, the third in a series at MAD that explores materials and process, I could not escape the extraordinary delicate features, the sheer amount of detail and concentration it took to create each and every one of the works on display.  It has been a while since I have seen works that are so visually enticing and so charged with energy, both emotional and physical. The way they dealt with the given material - paper - echoed craft (little intricate paper puppet theater-like works by Andrea Dezso), industrial design (Ferry Staverman’s figures and Sangeeta Sandrasegar’s chairs) and and artistic (Kara Walker’s shadow figures) values.  This is not to say that all works did not have an artistic value to me, they all did.  They just resonated differently within my own private visual world.

Each and every piece in this exhibit had meaning and oozed the measures it took to create it. My absolute favorites were:


Adam Fowler’s Untitled (74 layers) shown here: Untitled (64 layers) which I wish I had the patience to do.


Georgia Russell’s The Story of Art, which I think every Art History student can relate to in one way or another.


Mia Pearlman’s Inrush, a prime example of her work, which I absolutely love and have been trying to follow.


Rob Carter’s magnificent video Stone on Stone that I just couldn’t take my eyes off.

The show is on till April 4th, so if you haven’t yet, go see it. It is a prime example of how the lines are dissolving, perhaps already gone.



Comments - 1

So what do you think? The world wants to know!

Yaron Schoen

March 12, 2010

The exhibition was amazing, I was really impressed by everything. It was funny because the projects displayed there were a mix of art AND design. Exactly what I like :)

FYI - I reserve the right to remove off-topic, anonymous comment or just plain crap. So please be civil.

The profile images are taken from the Gravatar service. You can learn more here