making paper/making art    Gympie Regional Gallery June - July 2021

contemporary artists engaging critical issues through papermaking
 

Over the last few decades and in keeping with the re-materialisation of art a growing body of artists have found paper and papermaking an effective medium to articulate conceptual concerns. This return to materiality within contemporary art practice has reactivated the conversations between artists and their mediums and is particularly evident within the medium of paper, a medium that historically has been relegated to the role of a substrate both in the broader public and within art practice.

This exhibition  celebrates and documents an emerging community of contemporary artists based in Queensland and Northern NSW addressing contemporary issues through the properties of paper itself.

Exhibiting artists, Grace Cuell, Ana Paula Estrada, Fiona Foley, Annique Goldenberg, Sidonie Hall-Jordan, Tim Mosely, JungHa Park, Pamela See & Karen Stone  

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80° N 2017/2020

Cotton rag pulp artist book in etched glass cover, under ultraviolet bulb.

Contraction 2017

 Projection

What remains 2017/2021

Photograph

80° N Artist Statement:

 

I believe an artist book has the potential to be more than just its title and physical make-up, it has the capacity to materially contain a complete physical environment, embodied, and formed through emergent and successive stages in its development.

 

The story and form of 80° N emerged slowly, germinating nearly four years ago on an arts residency in the remote landscape of Svalbard in the High Arctic. Upon return to Australia, experiments into how to bring a sense of this remote ecosystem took their first form as a largescale drawing of the Arctic ice-cap. Using pulped cotton bedsheets, the flows and gyres of the ice took shape. An ultraviolet light shining above revealed the mark making on the floor of the cold and dark room, as the wet pulp slowly dried to form a single sheet of paper. Once the exhibition was finished, the paper drawing was reanimated with water and slowly swept up to form a single, paper iceberg in the centre of the floor, my human action reducing and removing the evidence. This used pulp, already redolent with stories of the beds it had once lain on, the gallery floor it had once carpeted, and the touch and breath of visitors’ close examination, was now scooped up and placed into a small glass tank in the sun. Over weeks, the pulp was incubated, slowly reducing as it dried, settling into layers through the force of gravity, discolouring with the impact of moulds, until a final book remained, its pages permanently fused together, their stories held not only within but throughout this paper artefact. 

 

The use of paper as a material of representation has been central to the output and meaning of this artist book. The transformational and heterogeneous properties of water and pulp allowed them to respond together through different iterations in direct response to the ambient environment. Paper is born in water and requires the expulsion of water for its existence, commencing as a swamp before transforming into a desert, yet always thirsty for the water of its birth.