The Weatherspoon Art Museum’s “Art on Paper” exhibit, is back for the summer! The series has been around since 1965, thanks to support from the Dillard Paper Company (now xpedex). This year marks the 44th installment, and presents pieces by 25 artists from all over the country. The collection celebrates a traditional medium, and features pieces that bring paper to life in striking colors, interactive sculptures and a scope of subjects that feel intimately personal, but also surprisingly relatable and accessible to the average museum-goer.
The artwork in “Art on Paper” was curated by Dr. Emily Stamey. She is new to the project, and was tasked with sifting through over 500 different pieces the Weatherspoon has accumulated over the 44 years of showcasing the medium. That being said, the collection is notably diverse, with pieces that cover a broad range of subject matter and style.
I found it easy to forget I was looking at just ‘paper’ when in front of the massive, netted sculpture by Laura Vandenburgh, or Annie Lopez’ paper dresses that look as if you could pull them off the mannequin and try them on.
I was intrigued by Andrew Scott Ross’ paper sculpture of an abstract art museum, which is completely customizable with planks that allow for the artist to change the “artwork” inside. Another piece, shows seemingly blacked out images of different states in the union – it is only when you look closer (and read the caption, in my case) – that you see the black is created by different gerrymandered lines drawn throughout history, giving the viewer sobering political insight.
My favorite; however, were Maria Berrio’s two pieces in the collection, which feature images of women and animals crafted in brightly colored and patterned Japanese paper. The pieces glitter in some places, and showcase beautiful florals in others – but the eyes of the women subjects are serious and realistic, and in the end pull focus above the noise of the color and pattern.
The exhibit opened on May 21, with first-view previews for members and a reception for the general public. Throughout the summer, Stamey will be at the Weatherspoon on Thursday evenings to answer questions and talk about guest reactions to the artwork. In her curator’s statement, she says she finds it fascinating to see the relationships and the connections that guests can see in the artwork, even in pieces that seem so diverse and unique from one another.
The 44th “Art on Paper” exhibit is currently viewable for the public. It will wrap up a few weeks into the fall semester on September 3. The collection is supported and made possible by xpedex, the F.M. Kirby Foundation, and the Lincoln Foundation. Artists include Julie Alpert, Gerry Bannan, Marianne Barcellona, Maria Berrio, Pamela Cardwell, Martha Clippinger, Steven M. Cozart and more. For more information, including hours of operation and location, you can visit www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.