From May 21 to Sept. 3, the Weatherspoon Museum, also known as the most criminally underused asset on UNCG’s campus, is hosting their 44th annual Art On Paper exhibit in its largest second floor gallery.
An introductory statement at the beginning of the gallery proudly states that “Since 1965 the Weatherspoon’s Art on Paper exhibition has uniquely taken the pulse of contemporary art by presenting a dynamic survey of artworks in which the use of paper-either as surface or material-is a primary concern.”
Featuring both traditional and intricately detailed examples of ink drawing on paper as well as chaotically built twelve foot tall altars constructed primarily from paper, this year’s 25 chosen artists have brought a particularly varied and interesting survey of the current art world.
Of particular interest to Venezuelan museum goer, Walter Comb, was the piece “Aminata Linnaea” by Colombian artist Maria Berrio. “Aminata Linnaea,” is a massive paper and mixed media collage most centrally featuring two young girls holding hands in a stoic pose surrounded by a richly decorated interior scene filled with multiple animals both living and taxidermied.
The twin girls, pairs of animals and multilayered patterns sharing the interior space imply a close, even mystical bond of family and culture. “It’s like the painting has its own light, you can see the reflection of the gold but also you can see all the different patterns and normally you would think so many patterns would make chaos, or it would be like a dissonance, but you see here complete equilibrium,” said Comb when asked to describe his favorite piece from the exhibit.
“Aminata Linnaea” is accompanied by another work by Maria Berrio, “The Harvest.” Constructed in a similar mixed media collage style to “Aminata Linnaea,” “The Harvest” features a more anxious examination of familial bonds by referencing the medical difficulties the artist herself went through during her pregnancy.
A beautifully dressed women stands in the center behind a table, her hands inside the belly of another woman laying on the table whose body has been adorned with many flowers and religious candles. The scene is once again constructed of multiple patterned pieces of paper but the interior golden light that dominated the mood of “Aminata Linnaea,” does not exist here. The women’s gaping belly, filled with flowers, speaks to the literal transferal of life from mother to child, and the risk of death the mother carries in carrying out her pregnancy.
Another interesting series of college based work in the exhibit are the four pieces by Caleb Taylor, a Kansas City artist. In contrast to the familial and intimate work of Maria Berrio, these pieces by Caleb Taylor in his series “Codex Remodeled” are far more compositionally abstract and incorporate the concept of decollage as well as collage.
By stacking multiple photographs of architecture and sculpture from textbooks and artist catalogues then carving away at the composition to allow the lower layers to come through to the surface the artist creates a piece that feels cooly revealing.
Caleb Taylor is taking found two-dimensional documentation of three-dimensional art. His sculptures and architecture depict his source material, readdressing them into a new three-dimensional form, stacked collages, and then framing them to be observed two-dimensionally once again.
One of the larger and immediately eye catching pieces found near the entrance of the gallery is, “Those Places” by Neha Vedpathak, who was born in India and currently lives in Detroit.
A massive, abstract shape rises a few inches off of the wall it lives on. A bright red center flanked on either side by deep and dark blues, the work is an immediate favorite of most museum goers.
Made of plucked handmade Japanese paper, acrylic paint and thread, the artist deconstructs paper into a more textured and delicate material before binding the pieces together into an impressive singular shape.
As one of the most common and widely available mediums, paper is a uniquely comforting, familiar, and flexible material to Neha Vedpathak. “Those Places” loosely takes its inspiration and its title from Kay Ryan’s poem, “Those Places.”
Art On Paper available for free public viewing until Sept. 3, there’s never been a better time for new and returning art students to start their year off thoroughly inspired.