Paper is an essential part of the artmaking process for many artists, serving as the base for drawing, painting, printmaking, and other forms of art. As a substrate, paper can vary in weight, absorbency, color, size, and other aspects. Since industrialization, paper has primarily been produced through mechanical means that allow for consistency and affordability. What happens, then, when an artist chooses to return to the foundations of paper, wherein it is made by hand using pulps, fibers, and dyes that reflect the human element through variations, inconsistencies, flaws, and surprises? Certain artists have sought out these qualities and embraced them, making paper not just a support on which to work, but fully a medium in and of itself. The works in this exhibition reveal the breadth of possibilities and unique qualities that exist when artists choose to employ and even create handmade paper. From the colored paper of Sol Lewitt’s Eight Pointed Stars to the work of artists like Paul Wong and Nancy Cohen made in collaboration with the preeminent handmade paper studio Dieu Donné, paper is transformed from support to conceptual center. Observe through the exhibition how artists paint with pulp, create dimension through building up and embossing paper, embed other materials between fibers, and use color to create innovative textures and imagery. The selected artists represent all media.
This exhibition is organized by the Asheville Art Museum and curated by Hilary Schroeder, former assistant curator, with assistance from Alexis Meldrum, curatorial assistant. Special thanks to Dieu Donné, New York, NY.