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Preview: Paper Cut at Subliminal Gallery ~ Opens March 7th

12:12 PM PST on March 4, 2015

Public FINL

Paper Cut is an ambitious group exhibition featuring artwork by six artists who cut into, tear into, and deconstruct the humble, traditional medium of paper to explore the terrain of their subject matter. The show opens on March 7th at Subliminal Gallery.

The exhibiting artists are: Adam Feibelman (San Francisco, Calif.), Aurel Rubbish (Paris, France), Bovey Lee (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Gregory Euclide (Minnesota River Valley, Minn.), Nicola Lopez (New York, N.Y.), and Swoon (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Each hails from a different city, drawing inspiration from distinctly different places and translating their ethos in dramatically unique and signature ways.

Keep reading for previews, and information on each artist.

Swoon, Street Sweeper, 2008, Hand printed wood block print on paper and wood
Swoon, Street Sweeper, 2008, Hand printed wood block print on paper and wood
Bovey Lee, Palm Tree Snowflake 1, 2013, Cut paper, Chinese xuan (rice) paper on silk
Bovey Lee, Palm Tree Snowflake 1, 2013, Cut paper, Chinese xuan (rice) paper on silk
Aurel Rubbish, Triad Part II, 2014
Aurel Rubbish, Triad Part II, 2014

Feibelman is a serial photographer, capturing what he considers to be the mundane, forgotten, or overlooked spaces of his home city in photographs. The works on view in Paper Cut are the stencil cut outs of enlarged versions of these photographs. He sets his printer to a certain tone and cuts out each tone of the same color, refining the large shapes into smaller more precise versions of the same object using color tone as his guide. The result is a series of cut out images, laid on top of one another and sewn together, sometimes painted to provide depth. The negative spaces of his stencils construct the base image¾resulting in a layered, textured, dimensional portrait through an absence of medium.

Aurel Rubbish is a Parisian who originally started out as a graffiti artist. With time, he realized the stencils he used to tag were more interesting to him than the results, and thus he began experimenting with meticulous cut outs of decorative, embellished, and dramatic motifs. The combination of black paper, gold leaf detail, and references to painting, religion and tattoo art defines his cutting edge, romantic aesthetic in a clean, flawlessly executed, and undeniably seducing manner.

Lee grew up in Hong Kong and was an early student of Chinese calligraphy. Her choice of Chinese rice paper as her medium is an homage to her lineage and the long history of paper making and cutting within Chinese culture. The significance of paper as a cultural object is important in Lee’s work, as is the rigor required to cut out her delicate, intricate, and carefully constructed designs. However, Lee is quick to note how she diverges from tradition and embraces the present. Each image she creates starts as a hand drawing. From there she develops a digital template of the drawing on her computer, translating continuous tones into patterns of solid and void. She then prints out the template, positioning it on rice paper, and using it as a guide for cutting. The references in her work to past and present are rich and carry through in the choice of medium, the process, and the subject matter.

Euclide is a painter, sculptor, and installation artist who plays with conflict and complexity through his portrayal of natural landscapes. Living in the Minnesota River Valley, Euclide looks to the solitude of his lush surroundings for inspiration. Blue ponds, green trees, placid lakes, and snow tipped mountains sprawl edge to edge in a cool, balanced color palette. However, these works evade traditional landscape paintings through the incorporation of found and man-made material. This sculptural element formally and intellectually portrays the conflict and complexity that Euclide is so attracted to. Instead of depicting the pristine, calm beauty of undisturbed natural environments, Euclide cuts into them, rips into them, and builds them out. Layers of furled paper, cut out geometric figures, paper scaffoldings, and both natural and unnatural ingredients jut out from the base image and cascade down and around the edge of the canvas. At times dirt, rocks and shrubs spill out from the center of the work and onto the gallery floor. In this way, Euclide is ultimately exploring boundaries and playing with the limits of how we experience, influence, and understand our surroundings…and artworks.

Lopez also highlights humanity’s undeniable presence in the shape of today’s world but does so using large scale, architectural enterprises as the base image for her work. Earth, Air, Fire, and Water layer colorful, visual explosions amongst linear, geometric, gray and white etchings of towering skyscrapers. The imagery flows over the represented edge of the paper and depicts an engulfing and tumultuous relationship between the named natural elements and the man-made renderings that seem to be battling for claimed territory. While these pieces don’t directly involve cut paper, they are reflections of Lopez’s more well-known mixed media installations, such as her 2011 Landscape X: Under Construction at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. In addition, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water communicate a different side of cut paper, which is the collaging of etching and woodcuts combined onto the medium from which each is cut.

Swoon is best known as a street artist…a gifted nomad, traveling when world beckons and incorporating her exploration of the cities and people she encounters (and embraces) into every artwork she makes. Her linocut and woodcut portraits have formed the backbone of her practice and she gained momentum in the fine art world by cutting out these portraits and pasting them onto city walls. The reason, you ask? The connection that occurs between artist and viewer, city and dweller, past and present when one encounters the unexpected with the freshness of an unassuming gaze and the gait of insatiable curiosity about the world.

Paper Cut ultimately aims to represent the wide interpretations of one medium and the many ways to explore this common, everyday material. The works on view are tremendously unique in their inspiration, their aesthetic, and their technique. Yet all works are equally telling of the individual creator and their underlying intentions as an artist.

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