Eric Standley, Verum Object 4, 2022, Courtesy of the artist

The Possibilities of Paper

This exhibition features works by Elizabeth Alexander, Jaq Belcher, Roberto Benavidez, Doug Beube, Charles Clary, Myriam Dion, Samuelle Green, Guy Laramée, Rosa Leff, John Noestheden, Matt Shlian, Eric Standley, and Michael Velliquette.

June 30, 2023 - October 15, 2023
  • Anne Noland Edwards Gallery

About the exhibition

Featuring thirteen artists hailing from across the United States and Canada, this exhibition examines paper as a versatile medium that both defies expectations and expands upon conventional perceptions. Exploring diverse techniques and sweeping content through works ranging from massive installations to intimate constructions, The Possibilities of Paper offers a glimpse of current trends in contemporary paper-based art.

Within the fine arts, paper has primarily been considered a support for other mediums such as graphite, pastels, watercolor or photography. However, it has long been a primary medium in its own right with beloved folk art forms like papel picado (cut paper native to Mexico), papier-mâché (originating in China), and origami (folded paper affiliated with Japan but with roots in China) having centuries-long histories. During the 19th century in America, cutting paper silhouettes was a popular art form, although it rarely rose to the level of fine art.

Twenty-first century artists, on the other hand, are mining the full potential of paper, using it as a primary medium to reimagine traditional art forms in addition to creating entirely new site-specific installations. The artists represented in this exhibition layer, suspend, cut, collage, weave, fold, scatter, and pattern paper to stunning effect. Additionally, several artists have reimagined common paper products like books, piñatas, maps, and paper plates to create surprising new identities for everyday objects. Along the way, these artists grapple with formidable themes including identity, spirituality, history, the cosmos, and the creation and destruction of knowledge.

About the artists

Elizabeth Alexander

, Welder’s Daughter: The Waiting Room, 2020. Iron filings from parents’ steel work, rust made with filings, graphite, face shield, paper, cast paper, and wood, 144 x 120 x 40.

Jaq Belcher

Jaq Belcher, All in Good Time, 2023. Hand-cut paper, dimensions variable.

Roberto Benavidez

Roberto Benavidez, Bosch Beast No. 4, 2017. Paper, paperboard, glue, crepe paper, and wire, 36 x 22 x 12.

Doug Beube

Doug Beube, Shifting Borders, 2014. Altered atlas, collage, and gouache, 12.5 x 11.75 x 11.5.

Charles Clary

Charles Clary, Memento Morididdle, 2023. Hand-cut paper and found frames, 96 x 240.

Myriam Dion

Myriam Dion, Tracé 4, 2022. Watercolor, gouache, and drawing on Japanese paper, paper weaving, and X-acto knife cut-outs, 39 x 25.125.

Samuelle Green

Samuelle Green, Marshmallow Polypore II, 2023 (Interior). Paper, wire, glue, and wood, dimensions variable.

Guy Laramée

Guy Laramée, Adieu, 2013. Encyclopedia Britanica, archival pigments, and ink, 11 x 39.25 x 8.8125.

Rosa Leff

Rosa Leff, With Love from Santurce, 2022. Hand-cut paper, 16 x 20.

John Noestheden

John Noestheden, Blue Kismet, 2021. Acrylic, Swarovski diamond crystals, archival glue on Arches paper, 40.5 x 49.5.

Matt Shlian

Matt Shlian, Unholy 216, 2019. Gold and antique gold paper, 48 x 52 x 4.

Eric Standley

Eric Standley, Drift, 2019. Laser-cut paper and 23k gold leaf. 48 compositions, 12 x 9 x 1.5 each.

Michael Velliquette

Michael Velliquette, Deva Realms, 2023. Bristol paper and string. 90 hanging paper forms, approx. 1,500 components, dimensions variable.


Special thanks to our generous sponsors:

  • City of Newport News
  • Towne Bank
  • Abbitt Family Foundation
  • Mary Katharine Evans Hogg
  • Elizabeth Holt
  • Larry King Law
  • Mary C. Neale
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