Vicki Clough Curates

Musings on art and life.

Rocking Paper and Scissors

It’s been too long since I wrote a blog post, for various reasons that I shan’t be boring you with. I’m hoping to catch up with myself over the next couple of weeks anyway, starting today.

If you think about paper, really think about it, it’s pretty cool. It has an exceptionally long and diverse history, comes in innumerable shapes, sizes, colours and textures. It’s versatile, useful, recyclable, it’s many sources are (mostly) renewable, all in all, it’s actually quite a beautiful thing all on its own. It is possible to make it more beautiful, as artists have been doing for many centuries, but below I engage in an exploration of some artists who use paper in the same way Michaelangelo used marble; coaxing out the hidden beauty from a blank sheet. I’ve featured paper cutwork before, in New Lace: The industrial Revolution, but I felt it was time to dedicate some time and a whole post to this incredible medium, and a handful of the very many talented artists creating a multitude of awe inspiring art.

In my search for paper craft excellence I have come across some like-minded online curators dealing with the same topic. I came across another site- Design*Sponge, featuring 25 Amazing Paper Artists, this has a pretty comprehensive list of excellent artists, and I would recommend taking a look, seeing as I couldn’t feature even a fraction of the images I would have liked to.

Hannah Koozlowski-Slone’s projects are a combination of decorative motif and historical imagery. She uses printed collages of old photographs, combined with traditional Polish paper cut designs, called wycinanki, to explore her heritage. In her artists statement Hannah says:

“To emphasize the fragmentary nature of my family history, the motifs are deliberately orchestrated so that they confuse and obliterate visual information. Rather than function as ornamental overlay, the motifs create spaces, holes, and absences within the imagery, omitting visual cues and alluding to the inaccessibility of the past.” 

Hannah’s work has a double-take effect; making the viewer question the nature of the art they are seeing and weighing up the ambiguity of the combination of motif and photograph.

The Long-Awaited, ink jet print, hand cut and mounted on canvas, 32″ x 14″, 2010

Detail, the long Awaited

Rummaging Through, ink jet print, hand cut and mounted on canvas, 13″ x 40″, 2010

Detail, Rummaging Through

Aftermath, ink jet print, hand cut and mounted on canvas, 28″ x 28″, 2010

Detail, Aftermath

Hong Kong born paper cut artist Bovey Lee has an incredible imagination. A reoccurring format for her work appears to be the outlines of Chinese vases, filled with intertwined images and intricate patterns of various landscapes, both rural and urban, and traditional floral motifs. I have included images of a project a particularly like called Briefcase Vacation. Seamlessly combined contrasting patterns make the viewer lean in for closer inspection. As well as being part of the feature on Design*Sponge above, you can read more about Bovey’s work here, as well as on her website.

Vase–Re[creation] Chinese xuan (rice) paper on silk, hand cut 15.5×32.75”, 2013

Vase–Re[creation] (detail 4)

Vase–Re[construction] Chinese xuan (rice) paper on silk, hand cut 14×24.75”, 2013

Vase–Re[construction] (detail 6)

Briefcase Vacation – Fall Chinese xuan (rice) paper on silk, hand cut 21.5×21.5”, 2012

Briefcase Vacation – Fall (detail 2)

Japanese born paper artist Kako Ueda is likewise exploring the traditional techniques of her home country within her work. Her keen interest in the organic is apparent in her subject matter. Occasionally bazaar, always beautiful, her art retains the delicate and intricate nature of paper cutwork while depicting the complexity of organic form. You can read more about her work here.

“Reciprocal Pain–Full view”, (layers of) hand cut paper with acrylic and water color, 92 X 55 inch., 2009

“Reciprocal Pain–detail of the head”, hand cut paper with acrylic and water color, 92 X 55 inch., 2009

“Eros & Thanatos”, photo courtesy by Central Archives, Helsinki/Petri Virtanen, from the show “Drawn in the Clouds”, 2008

“Eros & Thanatos–detail”, hand cut black paper (consisting of 150 separate pieces), 78 X 68 in. 2008

Russian born Yulia Broskaya has a very long list of pretty famous clients. Not surprising, seeing as her art is unique, colourful and endlessly visually interesting. Employing her own method of paper manipulation called “quilling” she has the following to say about her journey into the possibilities of this technique-

“This artwork is the first piece in the series of works which I consider a declaration of love to the material and the technique. It is also an attempt to raise a profile of this paper craft, which has been previously regarded with some disdain, and to bring this type of artwork on a new level in terms of its ability to convey meaning and emotions.”

The particular artwork to which she is referring can be seen below. You can read her full statement here.


Head Scarf Left Behind


This is only the tip of the iceberg. I could do a mile long blog post on this topic, and I could include work by Donna Ruff, Annie Vought, Xin Song (see featured image) and many, many more. Another day.

All images belong to the artists featured, unless otherwise stated, and link back to the artists website.


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This entry was posted on July 21, 2013 by in Art, craft, Curatorial Practice, Drawing, illustration, installation, Sketching, Uncategorized.
Vicki Clough

Vicki Clough

Vicki is an independent curator and craftsperson with a focus on socially engaged and participatory art and events. In January 2016 she helped launch Reconstructing Resilience, a research and curatorial project that explored various forms of sustainable practice. As a freelance curator she has worked with the Riverdale Hub, Myseum of Totonto/Art Spin and was the Curatorial Director of Figment Toronto from 2014 to 2017. She has also co-curated exhibitions including JAYU's iAM photography project (2016 & 2017), Move to Stillness, for the Harbourfront Centre's Kick Up Your Heels Festival (2015), The Duel, AGO First Thursdays (2014), and What Are You Made Of? OCAD U Graduate Gallery (2013). She initiated the Toronto based workshop model and website Polymers in Action: Socially Engaged Art and the Environment as part of her studies at OCAD University, where she obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree in Criticism and Curatorial Practice. She publishes on anything that interests her deeply and moves her to the point of lengthy verbal expression.

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