Getting It on Paper
By Carrie Steele
The most basic tool of an artist — besides hand and mind — is paper. Paper can bear drawings, paintings, p
|photo by Carrie Steele
Return I, by Karen Brown of Illinois, won juror’s first plae for her charcoal, shellac and chine colle work, on paper of course.
hotograph; it can be sculpted, manipulated, folded. And nowadays it is in plentiful supply. There’s perhaps nothing as versatile — or as open to possibility — as a sheet of paper.
Paper is the common thread for Maryland Federation of Art Circle Gallery’s exhibit. Artists took artistic license to heart, working in photographic paper, blotting paper and even phone books. Artists etched, painted, penciled, developed images, pressed woodcuts, sewed and pasted on paper.
Over 700 paper-based works from 250 artists from all over the country vied for entry into the Maryland Art Federation’s 28th Annual Art on Paper exhibit. Only 52 artists— including Annapolitans Terry Coker Peterson, Celia Pearson and Carolyn Russell — were invited to show their 2D and 3D paper works.
The 52 different styles also brought as many original ideas, colors and textures to sit upon the bright white drywall that overlays the Circle Gallery’s historic brick. The works are illuminated by the gallery’s tall paned windows, which cast natural light onto art and antique hardwood floor alike.
Juror Jennie Fleming from the Baltimore Museum of Art selected Return I, by Karen Brown as her first-place choice. Return I recalls autumn through orange and golden colors with penciled seedpods escaping on the last warm breezes of fall; reaching upward from the bottom of the painting are black-painted leaves, reminiscent of forest leaf litter. Look closer and you’ll find an array of butterfly wings, insects and even a salamander tucked away below.
In a completely different use of paper, George Sakkal from Ellicott City snipped and scrapped hundreds of bits of color images from National Geographic to make up The Serpentine: War in the Middle East. Arranged like a photo mosaic, the bits are graded into areas of snakes, chain-link fence patterns, grates and rubble, which fade into chaos with blue sky brimming through.
Most unusual is Ten Thousand by Loren Naji, a sculpture fashioned from layers of phone book — 10,000 pages, but we’ll have to take her word on that — sliced and laced together as a dealer would begin to shuffle playing cards.
Whether you’re into nature, modern, comical or serious, there’s a piece of work for each of 52 unique tastes.
Showing thru May 14; 11am-5pm Tu-Su @ Maryland Federation of Art Circle Gallery, 18 State Circle, Annapolis: 410-268-4566.