Influenced by a childhood fascination with botanical illustrations and collecting bits of natural ephemera, artist Kate Kato crafts detailed sculptures of the various mushrooms, flowers, and beetles found within the Welsh valley where she currently resides. The sculptures are typically built to accurately reflect the size of their subject, each constructed out of recycled bits of paper that Kato tints with natural dyes.
“For me my work can be very nostalgic, taking me back to my childhood and the curiosity that fueled my creativity,” said Kato in her artist statement. “I like to use recycled paper as it reflects that nostalgia, and gives the sculptures a history and narrative. I like people to be able to see where the materials have come from, as well as what I have turned them into, evoking that childish curiosity we all have somewhere inside!”
It’s been awhile since we’ve written about Meg Hitchcock‘s work (previously), first covering her practice in 2011 when she spent 135 hours gluing tens of thousands of individuals letters from the Koran to transcribe the Book of Revelation from the Christian New Testament. Hitchcock continues to produce religious-based text works that dissect the word of God, discouraging her audience from a literal reading by ignoring punctuation and spacing in the sentences she forms. Recently her text drawings have become a bit more figural, forming feet, scarves, and niqabs on paper with thousands of sourced letters.
“The labor-intensive aspect of my work is a meditation practice as well as an exploration of the various forms of devotion,” said Hitchcock in an artist statement. “A long history in evangelical Christianity formed my core beliefs about God and transcendence, but I later relinquished the Christian path. I now gravitate toward Eastern Mysticism, and am deeply moved by Islam. My work is a celebration of the diverse experiences of spirituality and the universal need for connection with something greater than oneself. In the end, the holy word of God may be nothing more than a sublime expression of our shared humanity.”
Utilizing vibrantly colored paper, artist and illustrator Yulia Brodskaya (previously here and here), creates unique three-dimensional portraits that reflect the beauty found in old age. Each work contains a palette of colors that remain at the center of her focus, recently concentrating on precious jewel tones that also serve as the title for each portrait. Previously Brodskaya had referred to these quilled pieces as drawings, but the more expressionistic her style becomes, the more her work reflects a painterly approach.
“I used to say that I was drawing with paper, but I believe with this technique I’ve found a way to paint with paper,” said Brodskaya to Colossal. “I mix strips of paper as I would mix paints on a palette. These artworks are all about color and the unique, tactile feel that paper strips add to it. The portraits resemble oil and acrylic painting (especially from a distance), but with a textured paper twist.”
You can find more images of Brodskaya’s quilled paper paintings on her blog and Facebook, and see a step-by-step demonstration of her process in the video below.
In true-crime books and tv shows, there’s always the point where somebody calls the handwriting profiler to do a behavioral analysis on some unknown criminal’s signature or a quick note left on a scrap of paper. Who is this person and what does their haphazard crossing of t’s and slanted letter o’s say about them? Artist Annie Vought is also fascinated by handwriting in connection to identity but in a more emotional and artistic sense.
Working with pieces of paper, the Oakland-based artist cuts sentence after sentence from large sheets of paper turning personal letters into physical objects. Sometimes the pieces are legible, meant to be read letter for letter, while others a chaotic tangle of typography, meant to covey more of a feeling than a message. She shares in an interview with the Art Museum of Sonoma County:
In the penmanship, word choice, and spelling the author is revealed in spite of him/herself. A letter is physical confirmation of who we were at the moment it was written, or all we have left of a person or a period of time. I also think a lot about the relationship between the public and the private, or more specifically about how the private side of ourselves can be made public. I want to be respectful of people, but I recognize that I’m actively exposing them through their written communications. But in the exposure is a vulnerability we all share. I’m interested in human relationships, overall— the ones we have with ourselves and others.
Of particular note in Vought’s work over the last few years is a mammoth piece titled “Gosh I’ve been here before,” a 41″ x 53″ cut paper sculpture of words and patterns that spirals like the rings of a tree. You can explore it up close and inquire about it over on Artspace. You can see a bit more of her work on Instagram and through Jack Fischer Gallery.
Barcelona-based artist and set designer Raya Sader Bujana (previously) continues to explore sports through paper in her ongoing series of paper athlete sculptures that celebrate a wide range of popular sports. In timing with the Summer Olympic Games in Rio, Bujana created a number of new paper sculptures that she photographed and released as 12 limited edition Giclee prints in her online shop. You can see much more of her editorial work on Instagram.
For artist Amy Genser, paper is pigment. The Connecticut-based artist cuts, rolls, and arranges countless tubes of mulberry paper mounted to Masonite boards to produce vibrant reef-like canvases. The tightly rolled papers perfectly mimc the forms of sea coral that appears to grow organically in every direction across (and on the sides of) each canvas. Since we last explored her work several years ago Genser was commissioned to create a massive 150 ft. mural for the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children and has exhibited all across the US and Europe with Elisa Contemporary Art and Galerie NUMMER40. You can see more of her recent work in her portfolio.