Art and Craft in Paper

Paper Takes Center Stage at Los Angeles’s Craft and Folk Art Museum
October 24, 2014 – 09:23 am
2015, Francesca Gabbiani.

Courtesy of Gavlak, Los Angeles

From Indonesian puppetry to Americana silhouetting, the traditional art form of cut paper has been in and out of vogue since the Chinese invented paper during the Han dynasty. But there’s a 21st-century revival afoot among contemporary artists exploring this delicate medium via new technology (laser-cutting), mixed-media interventions (concrete and video), and immersive environments (from paper tents to wallpapered installations). Such innovations form the basis for a cutting-edge exhibition titled “Paperworks, ” opening Saturday at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles.

In Our Image, 2014, Susan Sironi.

Courtesy of Offramp Gallery, Pasadena

Organized by Howard N. Fox, curator emeritus at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the show includes 3-D collages by Enrique Castrejon, a biostatistician for a public health agency, who created geometric structures resembling the HIV virus, as well as the work of Canadian-born painter Francesca Gabbiani, whose intricate narrative collages depict the the woods and the derelict houses the artist lived in as a teenage runaway. “They’re beautiful, ” says Fox. “You have to stare at them.”

Equally rapturous are Tam Van Tran’s fanlike wall reliefs crafted from patterned paper, and the sculptural works by American artist Tm Gratkowski, who embeds sheaves of pleated or crumpled paper that appear to sprout from cast concrete geometries.

Papel tejido 51 (Halo), 2015, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia.

Jay Oligny/Courtesy of CB1 Gallery, Los Angles

Though perhaps the most impactful works come from the artists commissioned to create on-site installations. Using folded-paper hexagons to form an Op Art wallpaper of sorts, Rebecca Niederlander incorporated the exhibition’s title wall into her piece In the central area of the gallery, buzzed-about Angeleno artist Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia created a triangular form out of long strips of paper painted with patterns that reveal varied sets of images.

Conceptual Formation, 2009, Tam Van Tran.

Robert Wedemeyer/Courtesy of Vielmetter Los Angeles Project

Fox made a 10-foot-square parallelogram to house Los Angeles–based Chris Natrop’s industrial-grade rolls of paper, which are splashed, dripped, and smeared with paint before being carved into complex filigree flora. Through these, Natrop projects a video of the garden outside his house—illuminated by filtered lights—with a soundtrack of birds and crickets chirping.

“What marks the exhibition is diversity of form, technique, and the artists themselves and their culture and interests, ” says Fox. “The one through line is the medium: Everybody works with paper.”

September 27 through January 3 at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, 5814 Wiltshire Boulevard, Los Angeles;

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Popular Q&A
Does micheal's arts and crafts have butcher paper?

Butcher paper is generally a cooking accessory, though commonly used in crafts. Michael's does not carry it, but try a grocer.

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