• UO Happenings: Paperworks at Craft and Folk Art Museum


    Paperworks is an upcoming exhibit at LA's Craft and Folk Art Museum hosting a number of artists' work to celebrate the medium of using paper in art. This exhibition features a diverse range of contemporary artists who use paper-cutting techniques to create large and small-scale sculptural works and is curated by Howard Fox, LACMA Curator Emeritus of Contemporary Art. We were able to chat with a few of the artists participating to discuss the medium of paper, what some of the challenges of working with it are, and what pieces they decided to share in the exhibit.
    Lead photo courtesy of CB1 Gallery


    Above: Untitled, carbon on paper, 16 x 14 inches, 2010, courtesy of artist and CB1 Gallery

    Chris Oatey

    When did you first start working with paper as a medium?
    Over the past 10 years, paper has become a defining material element in my process, whether in 2-D drawings or sculpture.

    What are the unique challenges of working with paper?
    The very limitations of paper are what I embrace. I use the same type of paper to make both traditional drawings and sculptural installations. It was important to find the right paper that was versatile enough to serve multiple uses.

    Do you exclusively work with paper? What other mediums do you with?
    In recent work I have focused on using sculptural paper forms that I photograph as content, then redraw using carbon paper. There is an immediate quality to creating the initial forms and a much more repetitive process to their remaking.

    Can you tell us about the pieces you are exhibiting in Paperworks?
    My installation at CAFAM will be produced on-site and consist of hundreds of square feet of paper crumpled with carbon paper. It will then be arranged in dialogue with the architecture of the museum and incorporate an unconventional viewing area above an emergency exit corridor.

    Do you have any other upcoming projects?
    My next project is a solo show of snowmelt paintings and drawings opening at CB1 Gallery in LA in January 2016.


    Minoru Ohira

    When did you first start working with paper as a medium?
    I started when I studied lithography in Mexico from 1970 to 1980.

    What are the unique challenges of working with paper?
    Making my own paper because it's difficult finding extremely thick paper.

    Do you exclusively work with paper? What other mediums do you with?
    I am primarily working with wood and making sculptures—paper is one of my sculpturing materials.

    Can you tell us about the pieces you are exhibiting in Paperworks?
    I am plying Japanese papers into five or six layers using black and colored powder paint and a powder graphite between papers. I then cut out a line with a knife just like a wooden sculpture.

    Do you have any other upcoming projects?
    I am going to have a solo show at Offramp Gallery in January 2016 primarily with wood sculptures and an installation with a Yellow Cedar.


    Above: paper-crete No.45_2015_9in.x16in.x6in._paper and concrete_image courtesy Walter Maciel Gallery 

    Tm Gratkowski

    When did you first start working with paper as a medium?
    As an undergraduate I was working with mixed media and paper was a big component of that. Much later, after graduate school, I was working on a series of 35 small, abstract, mixed media pieces on 9”x 5” ubiquitous brown lunch bags used in grade school. During that progression I noticed that each piece I completed used less and less of the other materials until the last five I worked on only used paper. I immediately recognized the potential in everything I was interested in communicating could be achieved by just using paper. To see if this really had some serious potential I jumped scale from the small 9”x 5” lunch bags and attempted a larger 48”x60” piece only using paper—I never looked back after that.

    What are the unique challenges of working with paper?
    Paper itself is made in so many varied ways that each kind of paper has its own unique challenges, qualities, and characteristics. When I’m creating new works I look at the paper very closely and try to manipulate each piece in different ways to generate a unique surface. My large scale pieces, larger than five feet, are made of hundreds of layers of different pieces of paper. Another challenging component are all the various graphics, images, words, and printed material found on paper which create endless possibilities and a very rich palette to choose from. The challenge, like any other material, is to understand it so well that you can get it to do what you want it to do. My art practice is based on combining images, patterns, and text that appear to have nothing to do with each other and pulling them together compositionally to show that these seemingly varied fragments and ideas have everything to do with each other.

    Do you exclusively work with paper? What other mediums do you with?
    Yes, I always, and typically only, work with paper. However, about two years ago I was looking for a radically unexpected way I could challenge the limitations of only using paper. I decided on combining paper with concrete to explore some small-scale sculptural work I now call my paper-crete series.

    Can you tell us about the pieces you are exhibiting in Paperworks?
    Well, luckily this new language of creating the paper-crete series has been getting a lot of favorable attention and the majority of works I will be exhibiting at CAFAM will be from this series. The paper-crete series are created by combining paper and wet concrete in various shapes I fabricate from a mold. Within 10-15 minutes I break off the form work and begin excavating and unfolding the paper from the concrete to create these explosive bursts of colorful paper appearing to ooze from the raw material of the solid concrete.

    I will also be exhibiting a larger 2D piece entitled “Terror.” Terror is 36”x72”, a paper collage, and like the majority of my work is made up of hundreds of layers of paper to create this abstract composition of colors, images, and text from various mass media formats.

    Do you have any other upcoming projects?
    I have a sculpture at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art for their annual California Sculpture SLAM exhibition from September 26- Nov. 15, 2015. I am also preparing new work for my second solo exhibition at Walter Maciel Gallery in Fall 2016.


    Above: Papel tejido 40  (Él derrama lluvia sobre la tierra)

    Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia

    When did you first start working with paper as a medium?
    I started working with paper as medium in my undergraduate education while in a printmaking class. That’s where I was introduced to various paper qualities and developed a sense for the material. It wasn’t until 2007 that I began making paper weavings as a developed body of work.

    What are the unique challenges of working with paper?
    Paper is a versatile material, but creases are impossible to remove in most paper types. Paper is also quite responsive to humidity and many types of paper “pillow” up when moist causing surface irregularities. This pillowing can be used intentionally as part of the design but it’s not easy to remove if it happens accidentally.

    Do you exclusively work with paper? What other mediums do you with?
    I work with a variety of materials including textiles, wood, different paint types, and printmaking.

    Can you tell us about the pieces you are exhibiting in Paperworks?
    My contribution is an arrangement of three “papel tepido” pieces which are made of woven painted paper strips. These double-sided abstract pieces will hang from the ceiling in a triangular configuration creating an inner space viewers can enter to be enveloped in the pattern and visuals of all three pieces. The theme for these three weavings is the representation of halos in Christian paintings, although here I’m hoping for a more immersive experience.

    Do you have any other upcoming projects?
    I’m mounting a small solo exhibition at CB1 Gallery in Los Angeles in November. My work will also be in a few group shows this fall: Fiberlicious at LAMAG, SUR at Rio Hondo College Art Gallery, Interwoven at Merzbau Gallery, Miami, and String Theory at the Tucson Museum of Art.


    Above: "The Radiance of Awareness II", 2012, Courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; Photo by: Robert Wedemeyer

    Tam Van Tran

    When did you first start working with paper as a medium?
    I started making drawings again in 2002 to supplement the narrative of my paintings at the time. I used whiteout and glued punched paper onto the the white paper along with staples and aluminum foil to create white landscapes with flying saucers. They were fantastical but more importantly were metaphors for migration. The punched paper would later lead into my three dimensional paper works.

    What are the unique challenges of working with paper?
    Paper is very immediate and welcomes mistakes. With paper, one is more relaxed because a sheet of paper is relatively cheap and as a result one doesn't get so psyched out about messing up. Whereas painting takes a lot of preparation. It starts with stretching the canvas over a bar and then gessoed. Then there's the challenge of making the first mark on a white blank canvas because painting is so codified with history. The beginning act of making the first mark on a blank canvas can be daunting.
     
    Do you exclusively work with paper? What other mediums do you with?
    In addition to paper I also make paintings on canvas and ceramics. I apply a similar strategy of collage in my drawings with the ceramic works. In my ceramic sculptures I roll the clay out into very thin slabs and cut them into different shapes before attaching them together using clay slips, which acts as a glue. Essentially it's cut and paste.
     
    Can you tell us about the pieces you are exhibiting in Paperworks?
    I am exhibiting two large three dimensional paper works from 2009 and 2012. The image is painted first on a large sheet of paper than the painting is cut up into individual patterned strips which are than hole punched and stapled. Each stapled strip is reassembled with an additional white insert. The white insert made of paper is like a godet used in sewing which is set into the painting causing it to flare. This adds width and volume. Both pieces in this show derive from my Beetle Manifesto Series begun in 2002 in which I made my own paint with spirulina, chlorophyll, and acrylic. The painting essentially resembles a large leaf eaten away by the punch holes. The staples that hold the painting together also shimmer as you walk around the painting. My aspiration in making these paper works was that they reference early computers but also that they take you beyond time; beyond cause and effect. 

    Do you have any other upcoming projects?
    My solo exhibition "Aikido Dream" opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara on November 14 and runs through February 21, 2016. This exhibition is curated by Miki Garcia and will include paintings and sculptures from the past decade. "Aikido Dream" will chart various collage and painting techniques I have used to essentially make paintings in a non-traditional way. I will also have a second solo show with Ameringer McEnery Yohe in New York City in 2016.

    Paperworks will be running at Craft and Folk Art Museum from September 27th through January 3rd. If you find yourself in the LA area, definitely be sure to stop by and check out all of these amazing artists' work!