Paper Paradox: Material and Meaning

Mei Mei Chang, Patterson Clark, Suzanne DeSaix, Helen Frederick, Alexis Granwell, Ceci Cole McInturff, Alice Quatrochi, Beverly Ross, Pam Rogers, Peter Winant

February 7-April 25, 2014


PAPER PARADOX: Material and Meaning is a group exhibition featuring artists who explore the interactivity of paper as a medium, a surface, a tension, and as a conscious transformation of plant material into new formal creative statements.

Historically unique and surprising objects have been made from paper including Japanese paper boats, paper dresses from the 1970s, exquisite Asian fans, cut-paper Aztec icons, Isamu Noguchi lighting, and modernist furniture. Specialty papers continue to be carefully made all over the world by descendants of innovators to provide fine flat sheets of paper. Today’s paper artwork includes large-scale sculptures, green designs, works in vivid pigmented colors or delicate off-whites, and renderings of both narrative and abstract subject matter.

Paper is just another tool in the artist’s toolbox and it requires technical virtuosity and selectivity to suit the artist’s expressive statement. The emphasis for artists in PAPER PARADOX is focused on the concept and context for images that are hand formed, cut, sculpted, suspended or printed from just the right material to give just the right meaning.

In this exhibition Frederick and Winant, veteran DC area artists, employ paper pulp as a surface to receive pigment, print and embedded sound. DeSaix works with materials from her farm to make works that demonstrate artifacts as part of her daily life. Cole McInturff pours thin white sheets of paper to receive inscriptions and utilizes large-scale, hand-poured paper as a sculptural medium with fur, hide, hair and cast objects. Quatrochi employs knowledge of science to produce undulating relief forms. Ress’ carefully cut and delicately drawn work is an ongoing investigation of mortality. Granwell’s palimpsestic imagery begins with the paper that then receives etched and monoprinted imagery. Mei Mei Chang cuts and organizes layers of painted, sewn and incised paper to make constructions. Finally Patterson Clark and Pam Rogers, both naturalists and illustrators and writers for the Washington Post and Smithsonian respectively, value how invasive and non-invasive plants can be transformed into elegant sheets of paper for printing and painting.