Thanks to a hot tip from the lovely designer, Mary Beth Cryan I was inspired to get out of my work studio and visit some interesting galleries that were exploring themes of cutting and folding.
My first stop was the Christopher Henry Gallery where the closing reception of A Cut Above: 12 Paper Masters was in full swing. The dozen artists were scattered throughout the two story space with an impressive paper sculpture by Chris Gilmour greeting you at the door. There were many familiar faces with solid work by Brian Dettmer and Guy Laramee and I was pleased to finally see in person the extremely delicate paper cuts from Hina Aoyama. The large scale intricate cuttings of the surrounding Chinatown neighborhood by Thomas Witte were also very striking and apropos.
Later I dragged some friends off the sweltering sidewalk to Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery when I saw some technically impressive papercuts by Ian Penney from the window. There were a number of nice works on paper, but his ‘Setting Off’ claimed the top spot and was a very cool precisely hand cut piece.
Finally, this past weekend, I joined fellow paper engineer Sam Ita and ventured to the Dorsky Gallery to catch an artist talk during the last weekend of the funky (Un)folding Patterns show curated by Ombretta Agro Andruff. To get a full sense of her intention to display creative links between mathematics and art you should read the PDF brochure that the gallery provides. I was most interested in the paper folded sculptures of father/son team, Martin and Erik Demaine. Readers may remember Dr. Demaine from the excellent documentary, Between the Folds, and I have been following his explorations with folding for a decade now. Currently, they are exploring structures that are folding on curves. That’s right, I said curves, not those easy straight lines like everyone else. The MIT professors are taking up the research from Dr. David Huffman’s past experiments and are getting some really interesting and screwy results. After hours of careful creasing the paper torques itself into these curved discs which are then interlaced to create the final sculpture. There is some real potential with curved folds and I was relieved to hear the artists state that they fold first and figure out the math after – a practice I have been known to employ in past paper engineering jobs.
All in all it was an inspirational survey of what some of the top paper artists are doing right now and I can’t wait what exciting shows come up later this year!