The Austin Chronicle

I've Got a Papercut

By Anne Harris, May 30, 2009, 2:49am, Chronique

Thing I've Neglected to Notice #432: The tiny worlds created by the random dents and other indignities that befall a piece of good paper. The ones pictured here may be precisely deliberate, but I'll see dowager paper with more love now thanks to the forgotten spaces of German artist Simon Schubert.

My new obsession with paper art started with an image of a pleated and sliced card-stock architectural model for an industrial campus. You could almost smell freshly-sliced paper through the Plexiglass protecting the severity of this hopelessly fragile, unblemished thing. Then someone showed me Peter Callesen's Down the River (2005) and I find myself falling hard for the art of Papercut. Like Kara Walker's famous stenciled silhouettes, the "shadow" created by cut-outs is often a comment on its owner, and in Papercut, subversive use of negative space suddenly becomes three-dimensional. The gentleman in Callesen's Looking Back (2006) looks like a Magritte-worthy, human-shaped grave the more I look at it. The task-obsessed will appreciate the irony of Jill Sylvia's "empty" ledgers. One aches for a blade.

My friend Brenner posted a link on Facebook to the typographic mobiles of artist Ebon Heath. These sculptures in thin air are irrepressible works of graphic art that refuse to be two-dimensional. They grew from dismembered poetry and remnants of song lyrics that want to be heard though lost to their stanzas. For some, they represent still-floating wisps of ideas not written down in the middle of the night.

Stay tuned, I'm having a paper fetish.

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