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A Cut Above: 12 Paper Masters, curator Diana Ewer

The renaissance of cut paper as an artistic medium

Video by Streaming Museum

Curated by Diana Ewer and Chris Henry Exhibition dates: May 10 – July 15, 2012 Streaming Museum’s Summer Party and video taping, July 12 Christopher Henry Gallery 127 Elizabeth Street, NYC  

Artists: Hina Aoyama (Japan), Jaq Belcher (Australia), Doug Beube (Canada), Zoe Bradley (UK), Brian Dettmer (USA), Danielle Durchslag (USA), Adam Fowler (USA), Chris Gilmour (UK), Dylan Graham (New Zealand), Guy Laramée (Canada), Pablo Lehmann (Argentina), Thomas Witte (USA)

New York, NY — The Christopher Henry Gallery is pleased to present A Cut Above: 12 Paper Masters, a group exhibition celebrating the renaissance of cut paper as an artistic medium. The exhibition features 12 international artists who choose to draw with a knife, saw or scissors as an integral part of their practice. A timely show, it responds to widespread current debates surrounding the use of cut paper and books in contemporary artistic practice, exploring the work of 12 artists engaged in paper manipulation. Individually, these artists are praised for their distinctive techniques and approach to working in this medium. As a collective, A Cut Above provides an insight into how the medium has gained traction on the international art stage and presents a broad spectrum of works by emerging and established artists from the United States and abroad, some exhibiting in New York for the first time.

The artist’s manipulation of paper is a transformative act – rather than simply drawing and painting on the surface, the material itself becomes the key, if not sole, component of the artist’s expression of emotions and narratives. The meticulous act of cutting might suggest an obsessive tendency with an undertone of brutality but the end result is a graceful, often ethereal, arabesque of positive and negative space. Underpinning the material importance of paper, A Cut Above highlights the shifting use of cut paper from a peripheral “decorative” medium, to an art form that transcends the boundaries between craft, design and fine art. The exhibition engages with broader contemporary concerns: for example, the world’s depleting natural resources, the appropriation of history and traditions, and the death of the book following our increased reliance on an unfiltered “virtual sphere” in a global consumer-driven, digital age. A possible reaction against the acute influence of current digital technologies on art, this renewed enthusiasm for cut paper and books brings the focus back to the artist as maker and satisfies our very human desire for the authentic, the original and the hand-crafted.

Born in Japan, Hina Aoyama, works in France, where she was recently awarded first prize at the “Triennale International du Papier”. Zoe Bradley studied Fashion Design and is based in London. She worked with British designer, Alexander McQueen in the 90s and has made a name for herself working across multiple disciplines; combining sculpture, fashion and theatre. Guy Laramée is also an interdisciplinary artist, but recently shot to fame for his magical landscapes carved into obsolete books and encyclopedias. Argentine artist, Pablo Lehmann, lives works in Buenos Aires. His unique works made up of cut text and layered paper are highly sort after across Latin America. Australian born, Jaq Belcher, has lived in New York since 2001. She is a studio member of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and a recent finalist for MTA’s “Art for Transit” award.

A Cut Above also stages an important reunion of paper masters: Doug Beube, Brian Dettmer, Adam Fowler, Chris Gilmour and Dylan Graham, exhibited together in MAD museum’s 2009 seminal exhibition, Slash: Paper Under the Knife. A significant inspiration to many artists and designers, Slash directly influenced the work of rising talents, Danielle Durchslag and Thomas Witte who show new works alongside pieces by artists that have directly informed their practice.


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