Crown Street Window Installation at Artspace, New Haven
Paper Over was an installation in the Crown Street Window space at Artspace, New Haven. This installation used folded paper pyramids to explore color and space, creating an optical trick from various vantage points. A straight-on view of the work made the installation appear two-dimensional like a painting, but as a viewer walked or drove past the Crown Street window, the dimensions of the piece were revealed. The forms were composed of painted paper, culled from recycled works. The display was on view April 1-30, 2017.
Paper Over, Artspace, New Haven. Photographer: Jessica Smolinski.
In 2014 I started working on a series of large-scale works on paper called Scrolls. Each scroll references patterns found in handiwork such as weaving and sewing. These soft forms of textile arts are translated into rectilinear shapes in paint. The rigid forms morph and change as they repeat, referencing the bespoke nature of craft traditions. Together the references to craft and geometric abstraction form a bridge between two opposing origins for art production.
Color has been historically associated with femininity, whereas drawing was masculine. For example, during the Renaissance color was described as the unruly sister of drawing. This sentiment was echoed by the nineteenth century French art critic and theorist, Charles LeBlanc, who categorically placed color under drawing, feminine below masculine. Parallel divisions of gender have also been applied to painting and sculpture, as well as craft and fine art.
The idiom “paper over” means to patch or gloss over something, especially as a means to present a semblance of unity. This installation uses fragments from my series of Scrolls, which have been cut up and folded into triangular pyramids of various sizes. In this context, the paintings are reborn as an installation. The materials are reused, but the content—the exploration of color as space, the social place of pattern, and the insistence on ornament—is consistent with the original works.