Art exhibit features creative works made of paper

PLAINVIEW – Paper is not a medium many think of in traditional art shows, but in the latest exhibit to visit Wayland Baptist University’s Abraham Art Gallery, paper is the focal point.

Titled “Paper Cuts: The Art of Contemporary Paper,” the new exhibit runs Oct. 28 through Nov. 30 in the gallery and features a diverse group of art pieces surveying the wide variety of paper arts and crafts. Organized by Media Gallery of Garnett, Kan., the show celebrates the ancient art of papermaking that dates back to 200 BC in China. As papermaking evolved into an easier process, paper arts emerged as another option for artists.

“Contemporary paper arts reflect traditional uses, such as paper folding and book construction, as well as more sculptural approaches to paper,” said Cindy Bowden, director of the Williams American Museum of Papermaking in the exhibit’s promotional brochure. “The works in Paper Cuts reflect the breadth of this versatile medium.”

Dr. Candace Keller, professor of art at Wayland and curator of the gallery, said the work is fascinating for many who don’t expect to see such level of intricacy.

"When people think of paper, they usually visualize flat sheets of it, and even in the context of artwork it is most often presented as a surface upon which to work. The Paper Cuts exhibit showcases the incredible versatility of this available substance as a fine arts media,” she said. “For centuries, the production of paper was time-consuming and limited, each sheet requiring mould-made handcraftsmanship. Handmade and pulped papers can reveal an infinity of textural and sculptural qualities, and the artists have used both the handmade and modern process papers in their unique and original creations."

Works pay tribute to the history of papermaking and the role of books as communication tools and art pieces themselves, celebrating the medium’s ability to share messages through art. Modern origami artists spotlight the oriental folding art form, while other artists display the art of paper quilling, a craft practiced in the nunneries in the 1500s and brought to the United States by early settlers. Still other pieces showcase paper sculpture in a variety of formats and interpretations.

The exhibit includes an area for more learning about paper arts.

"Because of the fragile nature of the paper artworks, touching is not recommended,” Keller noted. “To alleviate the temptation, we are reserving an area in the gallery where patrons will be able to view paper-art process videos and literature, as well as a workspace with quilling materials for those who wish to try their hand at the art."

The Paper Cuts exhibit is made supported in part by the Mid-America Arts Alliance and ExhibitsUSA. It is open to the public during regular gallery hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday 2-5 p.m. For more information or group tours, call the gallery at 291-3710.