Papermaking is a Chinese invention. The year 105 A.D. is often given as the year in which papermaking was invented, but recent archaeological investigations place the actual invention of papermaking some 200 years earlier. The first paper industry in the North America was built in 1690 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That’s a long way to come in the course of history to today. Now, as paper is lifted into an article associated with the past, we see papermaking as an art form or a medium for making art all by itself.
Shredded, curled, cut, glued and tinted – the list of processes one can subject paper to is on the table. That wealth of experimentation and innovation is being explored in a new exhibition titled, of course, “Paper, Paper, Paper,” beginning Monday (Sept. 4) in the Encore Gallery at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.
An opening reception is planned Thursday (Sept. 7), 4-6 p.m. The exhibit will be on view through Oct. 29.
“Paper, Paper, Paper” is a show that features works of art created with paper as a medium. Cellulose must be involved in the concept of the artwork to be included. This includes works of handmade papers, manipulated papers, prints that feature paper in some way – even artist books made with papers. It’s a broad concept about how paper, usually simply meant to be the picture field, now becomes part of its structure.
Lynn Sures, professor emerita and former chair of fine arts at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design in Washington, D.C., juried the exhibition. Sures has traveled within the United States, Italy, Japan, Australia, Sri Lanka and Turkey to exhibit, lecture and offer workshops on hand papermaking.
She recently was awarded an Artist’s Research fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution for research in Washington, D.C., and Kenya. Artists in Taos, especially printmakers and bookmakers, have been an expressed interest for instruction in pulp drawing and papermaking.
“In my studio practice,” Sures states on her website (lynnsures.com), “I instinctively and repeatedly recognize myself on a mission without a clear idea of the formal outcome. … As an artist, I am in my preferred place in a long and physical process of making. During this a vivid connection with the material as well as the concept, the reason for being, roots me in my work.”
Artists in the show include Katie Woodall, Jill Power, Julie Nocent-Vigil, Jan Marie Sessler, Carol Farmer, Lisa Brown, Mary Ellen Matthews, T.J. Mabrey, Touri Strick, Jane Farmer, B.R. Conley, Robert Parker, Marjorie Tomchuk, Jan Dorris, Sara Jean Gray, Priscilla Robinson, Jacqueline Mallegni, Eric Benson, Dwarka Bonner, Christa Marquez, Patience Heyl and Jameson Wells.
The exhibition includes two- and three-dimensional works, large and small pieces and works that are conceptual, as well as some that are representational. Although there are 22 different artists, styles and interpretations, the paper concept and Sures’ critical curatorial eye in choosing works bring the exhibition together as a unit.
“This is a new exhibition and one of many that the art committee has in store to challenge artists of different media and to think outside of the box. It even challenged the art committee to define the criteria and envision how the artist may or may not interpret in creating their works of art,” Taos Center for the Arts Executive Director Deborah McLean said.