Musings on art and life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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