This Week We're Fussed About... Cutting Edge: Contemporary Paper Art
Mottisfont Abbey, located just outside Romsey, is layered with an interesting history. Now owned by the National Trust, the thirteenth century gothic remains of the priory are open to the public. The abbey was owned in the mid twentieth century by society hostess and patron of the arts, Maud Russel as ‘the base for her racy and intriguing life’. Since 2011, the top floor of the house has been opened to the public, converted to an art gallery with frequently changing exhibitions.
Until 29 January 2012, the work of six contemporary artists who all incorporate the medium of paper into their work will be displayed at the gallery in an exhibition entitled ‘Cutting Edge: Contemporary Paper Art’. The brief for these artists was to draw inspiration from the natural forms and shapes of the Mottisfont winter garden, and each has done so in their own intriguing, beautiful and sometimes humorous way.
A brief synopsis of the artists at the exhibition…
The delicate and intricate paper cut-outs of Rob Ryan, who is increasingly developing a loyal fan base, reveal romantic silhouettes and stories. His work has an emotional and dreamy element to it which connects with the viewer, reciting tales through intricately cut words and shapes. His work clearly demonstrates his status as one of the most popular paper artists in Britain.
Incorporating her inspiration of flowers and leaves, Eileen White’s beautiful paper cut mobile, entitled ‘Come, Heavy Sleep’, spans across the ceiling of the Long Gallery creating an elaborate and atmospheric spectacle. White is based in Winchester and her previous work has been displayed in Winchester Cathedral and the surrounding areas.
John Dilnot incorporates papers he has found or made, often using interesting layers such as maps. He combines this with natural forms including birds and branches to create an intriguing effect. Dilnot studied Graphic Design at Canterbury College of Art before obtaining a degree in Fine Art at Camberwell School of Art, where he predominantly specialised in screen printing.
Miniature, mythical houses painstakingly constructed from paper by artist Ed Kluz, are protected in the bubble of Victorian glass domes. Kluz draws on his fascination of the past and gains inspiration from our architectural heritage by using old and ‘vanished’ buildings as a starting point for his paintings. His work incorporates the themes of reinvention and the awareness of passing time.
Sally Sheinman’s commission ‘Being Human’ is an interesting exploration of what makes us individual and unique, and is represented by two long paper sculptures made up of 25,000 pieces of hand painted gold Japanese rice paper. These signify the number of genes in the human genome. Spectators are invited to add to the sculpture at the end of their visit, making the exhibition a more interactive experience in which they are encouraged to consider the deeper meaning behind the work.
Finally, freelance illustrator Jonny Hannah has created dominating and bright illustrations and screen prints for the exhibition that combine paper with other materials including wood. His other work involves printmaking for books, posters and T-shirts.
This is a fantastic exhibition which explores the many uses of paper to create beautiful and intriguing art forms. Despite the origins of paper craft in ancient times, the talent and refreshing ideas of this selection of contemporary artists adds a modern spin to this art form. This exhibition is definitely worth visiting to gain inspiration and view some of the best current talent of today.
For more information about visiting go to Nationaltrust.org.uk
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Images: The Gallery at Mottisfont, Facebook.