Art in Town

Art in the Workplace

Art On Campus

Art In Trenton

Other Galleries

Art by the River

To the North

Other Museums

Corrections or additions?

This review by Pat Summers was prepared for the August 9, 2000

edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Paper, Ubiquitous & Artful

From China around 200 A.D., when paper was first made,

to Route 1, Princeton, 2000 A.D., where handmade paper in varied

surprising

and beautiful artistic incarnations is being exhibited. In between

those two dates: a multitude of discoveries and inventions and

applications

for paper, which has been called one of the most ubiquitous substances

on earth.

At first, paper was a utilitarian material, whose labor-intensive

production was based on beating such vegetable materials as mulberry

bark into pulp, then forming sheets, which were dried and used in

a variety of ways. The noting and recording functions initially made

possible by paper quickly expanded to encompass art and literature,

besides countless other more prosaic uses. Consider how paper

permeates

our lives now. Open the kitchen cupboard, stocked with paper

packaging.

Read a newspaper, a magazine, a book. Write a check or a letter, then

put it in an envelope, affix a stamp, and mail it. Build a model

airplane

or fly a kite. Buy a lampshade. Wear a straw hat you can crush and

pack in a suitcase.

In 19th-century America, with the coming of industrial paper

production,

the hand manufacture of paper waned, and wood pulp, far cheaper than

cotton or linen rags, became its raw material. Ironically, possible

paper applications expanded exponentially — just as much of its

beauty and unique qualities were lost. Not until the 1960s and ’70s,

when demand for special, textured paper surfaces arose once again,

did hand papermaking move back into the realm of craft. Then, paper

made the "old-fashioned way," in papermills founded for that

purpose, could be partnered with printmaking and other arts, enriching

their products with its own look and texture.

Only about 40 years ago, handmade paper transitioned from a support

material to a medium in its own right, as artists began serious

exploration

of its innate characteristics and potential. Used as a medium, paper

allows a visual artist to be expressive; no longer merely the passive

bearer of a message, the medium of paper is the message. Since

then, the products of hand papermaking have come to be regarded as

art forms.

Both recent and current uses of handmade paper are extensively and

masterfully demonstrated by the four artists — Anita Benarde,

Margaret K. Johnson, Joan B. Needham, and Marie Sturken —

represented

in "Handmade Paper Works" at the Summit Bancorp Gallery, on

Route 1 at Carnegie Center, through September 1.

Large and small; two, three, and in-between-dimensional; wall pieces,

floor pieces and work in boxes; pulp paintings and sculptures; flat

and textured work; minimalist and maximalist styles; suggestive and

explicit in tone: this really is a "really big show."

Depending

on how you count them, there are 50 works, give or take a few in the

show curated by Delann Gallery Domani. Not all the work is recent

(it couldn’t be), yet the show provides a comprehensive overview of

the many ways handmade paper becomes art.

And the Summit setting accommodates a lot of art, comfortably. First,

there’s the lobby, then a long hallway wall, which is opposite angled

walls forming alcoves for both wall and floor pieces. The only

distraction,

in some lights, are spackle patches that stand out from the wall

color.

Walking into the Summit Bank lobby, one quickly encounters Joan B.

Needham’s "Six Ceremonial Posts," each one 7 to 10-feet tall,

and all looking like weathered bronze monoliths from a far-off

culture.

Tapering to a long, pointed top, each sculpture has ridged supporting

rings at intervals, a width and tilt of its own, and different-sized

openings — slits, windows, or cells — in its surface.

Open-ended and actually lightweight, these columns are, the artist

notes, constructed much like a racing shell, something she as a rower

is familiar with. Reed and rattan are basic ingredients, as are

muslin,

modeling paste, wooden rods, and waxed flax. The dried-pulp surfaces

are finely speckled with colors, and grouped as they are, the posts

resemble tall, exotic members of a welcoming committee for the

exhibition.

They also provide a dramatic idea of the lengths — and heights

— to which handmade paper can go.

After years as a printmaker, working on paper, Needham says she

"no

longer wanted to work on the surface; I wanted to work into

it," and texture was increasingly important to her. She decided

to study papermaking with one of the pioneers in the field, Laurence

Barker (currently recognized as such in the "Paper Trail"

exhibition at Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts in New Brunswick

that runs through August 12). In the early ’80s, Needham spent three

papermaking months in Barcelona, and came home a believer, seeking

converts and eager to change her own papermaking world.

Besides starting a handmade paper course at Mercer County Community

College, where she still teaches art, she also talked up the idea

of hand papermaking to her artist friends — including colleagues

in this exhibition. Anita Benarde, then a printmaker and painter,

remembers Needham’s animation even now, and Marie Sturken used

Needham’s

"Spanish paper" for the printmaking she was doing at the time.

Before long, Needham had introduced them to Dieu Donne, the now-famous

New York City papermill, and the innumerable ways it facilitates hand

papermaking as an art form. Together and separately, the artists have

gone there ever since. Many of the pieces in the Summit show were

made at Dieu Donne by the "four (papermaking) amigas."

Needham’s other work with handmade paper includes two of her hanging

"Tapestries," deeply red and marvelously textured, and

"Detached,"

a two-part, black wall sculpture, as well as a number of

two-dimensional

works, in dark, rocky hues — colored paper pulp, remember —

reminiscent of her visits to the American Southwest. Also a welder

who works with found objects, Needham says her habit of thinking as

a sculptor contributed to creation of her totems.

Anita Benarde’s blues are memorable hues — partly

because they often contrast with more muted shades in her

two-dimensional

paper paintings. Her large "Mainspring" features calligraphic

shapes that include a large, red-toned character, swimming in those

distinctive blues. It’s impossible to miss and impossible to give

it short shrift.

Benarde’s distinctive palette, coupled with her interest in

experimentation,

yields "Manhatten" (sic), for which she hand-sprayed

mauve-hued

pulp, creating a stucco-y surface spotted with random blue bursts

and an un-Manhattan-shaped colored continent in the middle. In

"Tumbleweed,"

among more deserty hues achieved partly through embedded sheer

washi,

Japanese handmade paper, her irrepressible turquoise squiggles are

comparatively self-effacing, though no less appealing.

"Passages,"

with both pale and bright blocky shapes amid soft clouds of color,

shows both geometric and colored-pulp paths, or passages, with

dimension

and direction provided by vertical strands of colored flax.

And now for something completely different, Benarde shows four framed

"Fiber Caps" — hub caps cast in pulp. "Early on,"

she says, "I made my own molds using clay and plaster, but I soon

learned that numerous found objects would make excellent molds, as

long as they contained no undercuts." Then, "the pulp, colored

or natural, could be pressed into the `mold’ and when dry it would

shrink away, making it relatively easy to lift out a unique work of

art." Of course, not every hub cap serves this purpose, but in

Benarde’s hands, those that do are abstracted to become striking wall

reliefs — often wholly unlike the initial found objects in

appearance.

As is true with many printmakers and artists in general, Benarde is

always on the lookout for raw materials in the world around her.

While other artists might use oil or acrylic paints,

Marie Sturken uses paper pulp as the medium for her art. Mixing

pigment

with pulp, she paints with paper, often embedding in the pulp thin

sheets of washi onto which images of currency, letters,

postmarks,

and stamps have been lithographed or photocopied. She may use a hose

to blend colors and soften images, and the resulting handmade paper

composition is pressed and dried.

A couple of Sturken’s pieces include strips of balsa wood to which

paper strips covered with writing have been glued. Abaca, a kind of

hemp from the Philippines, is another element Sturken uses.

Tissue-thin

and filmy, it can low-key a color, add a fine layer to suggest one

illusory thing or another, and even help hold the elements of the

composition together. Sturken’s color-blocked works incorporate

embedded

string as a divider and a design element.

Replete with sea and seed imagery, her "Transformation" brings

together in one large work numerous allusions to sea life and

seed-dispersal

means, with an array of natural materials embedded in the colored

pulp. In other pieces here, Sturken has worked bigger and much more

elaborately, so that a few are in effect, two-dimensional-plus:

her materials may extend beyond the borders of her pulp paintings,

or push out from their surfaces.

A vivid little piece, "Ancient Markings II" illustrates

Sturken’s

interests in color, texture, and ancient forms of writing that often

have calligraphic qualities. She describes this work as "a

monotype,

with paper used in a printmaking way." Jewel-like hues, especially

an embedded sliver of hot pink silk, suggest a book or folded fabric,

on which one sees different symbols and scripts.

In her curator’s statement for "Paperwork: Pulp as Medium,"

a related exhibition last autumn at the College of New Jersey, Sturken

wrote a perfect patter song line: "Through manipulations, such

as beating, casting, embedding, embossing, folding, incising,

layering,

piercing, shredding, shrinking, slitting, spraying, stretching,

tearing,

twisting, wrapping, and wrinkling, each artist has originated her

own combination of paper’s visual vocabulary . . . to voice her own

vision." Sung or not, this is true of this show also.

Illustrating her belief that paper is beautiful all by itself, and

her desire to "push the boundaries of paper," Margaret K.

Johnson is showing several wall pieces and three sculptural works

in this exhibition. Each one might be seen as a demonstration of a

different kind of paper manipulation. Embedding rusted wire in the

pulp let Johnson study its reaction to the papermaking process;

incorporating

vellum caused surprising, and appealing, bulges to result; twisting

the fibers of Japanese handmade paper created prong or knife-like

effects. In "Relating," which features an implied exclamation

mark — a rectangle in shades of soft purple — she embedded

in her characteristically neutral-toned pulp pieces of colored,

gossamer-weight

washi.

Both her spare style and her penchant for allusive titles make

Johnson’s

three sculptural paper works intensely interesting, and suggest layers

of possibilities. "Suspense" looks like a few unconnected

walls, some cut-out windows, and a partial staircase that has been

cut from and folds back into a wall. Who can access the stairs, and

where do they lead? Like "Suspense," both "Evolving

Possibilities"

and "Window to a Thought" involve simple-seeming folded sheets

of washi. Windows of different sizes in unexpected places,

and fibers twisted into symbolic barriers of prongs, or thorns, add

to the mystery.

Long a printmaker and originally a sculptor, Johnson was the last

of this quartet to move into hand papermaking, although she first

realized the inherent beauty of paper some time ago while living in

Japan.

Prospective visitors to "Handmade Paper Works" should not

let themselves be distracted by papermaking terminology: abaca,

couch

("koosh"), chine colle, and so on. It’s the same as

with painters’ lingo: gesso, scumble, and over-paint. The product

is the thing. And these artists use their tools and techniques —

they do pulp painting and sculpting — as artists in other mediums

do: to achieve a vision. So just concentrate on the vision.

— Pat Summers

Handmade Paper Works, Summit Bancorp Gallery, Route

1 at Carnegie Center, 609-799-6706. Group show featuring artists Anita

Benarde, Joan B. Needham, Marie Sturken, and Margaret Kennard Johnson,

curated by the Delann Gallery Domani. Exhibition is open Monday to

Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Show continues through September 1.

Top Of Page
Art in Town

Marsha Child Contemporary, 220 Alexander Street,

609-497-7330.

"Art and the Female Form," a themed group exhibition of

paintings,

sculpture, and works on paper by international artists. Women have

been a favored subject of artists for thousands of years, says guest

curator Megan Gorski, and this show illustrates the persistence of

this tradition in modern times. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday,

10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To August 30.

Historical Society of Princeton, Bainbridge House, 158

Nassau Street, 609-921-6748. "Old Traditions, New Beginnings,"

a major exhibition celebrating 250 years of Princeton Jewish history,

jointly presented and exhibited at the Jewish Center of Princeton.

This is the first-ever exhibit on the history of Princeton’s Jewish

community, scheduled to coincide with the Jewish Center’s 50th

anniversary.

Topics addressed include early arrivals, family life, social

organizations,

work and business pursuits, religious traditions, and anti-Semitism.

Medical Center at Princeton, 253 Witherspoon Street,

609-497-4192.

Dining room exhibit of watercolors by Princeton artist Elizabeth

Roedell.

Titled "Sojourn," she painted the series of works last year

on a journey through France’s Provence region. Part of proceeds

benefit

the Medical Center. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. to September

14.

Top Of Page
Art in the Workplace

Gallery at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Route 206 and Province

Line Road, 609-252-6275. "Fragile Dependencies," a group

exhibit

that takes a close look at delicate relationships in nature. Featured

artists are Joan Roth and Madelaine Shellaby of Princeton, Susan

MacQueen

of West Windsor, Simon Gaon, Lori Van Houten, Karon Moss, Michael

Zansky, and the late Rachel bas-Cohain. Gallery hours are Monday to

Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekends and holidays, 1 to 5 p.m. To

September

10.

ITXC Corporation, 600 College Road East, 609-921-1142.

"Space, Time, and Travel," an international show curated by

the Williams Gallery featuring painting by Tanya Kohn of Mexico,

woodblock

prints by Yoshikatsu Tamekane of Japan, and etchings by Joerg

Schmeisser

of Australia. Web site: www.wmgallery.com. Monday to Friday, 9

a.m. to 5 p.m. To September 1.

Johnson & Johnson World Headquarters Gallery, New

Brunswick,

732-524-3698. An exhibition of bold drawings in colored marker by

Echo McCallister that mirrors the artist’s intense and complex life

experiences as a person with autism. Having spent a great portion

of his life in mental institutions, McCallister has earned a national

reputation as an emerging "Outsider Artist." His work is in

the collection of the National Art Exhibitions by the Mentally Ill;

to September 14. Also "Accumulative Strokes" by Tony Khawam,

to August 24. Free by appointment.

Stark & Stark, 993 Lenox Drive, Building 2, Lawrenceville,

609-895-7307. "Shapes, Scenes, and Such," a display of artwork

by staff and family members of Stark & Stark. Also, a show of

watercolors

by Trenton painter Marguerite Doernbach. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.

to 5 p.m. To September 9.

Top Of Page
Art On Campus

Art Museum, Princeton University, 609-258-3788.

"Photographs

by Barbara Bosworth," extended to September 3. Open Tuesday

through

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free tours of the

collection are every Saturday at 2 p.m.

Firestone Library, Princeton University, 609-258-3184.

"A Century for the Millennium: 100 Treasures from the Collections

of the Princeton University Library," on view to November 5.

Top Of Page
Art In Trenton

Ellarslie, Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park,

609-989-3632.

"TAWA Two Thousand," the annual members show juried by Kristen

Accola, exhibition director of the Hunterdon Museum of Art, featuring

more than 50 works by 30 artists. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11

a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday 2 to 4 p.m. To September 24.

Extension Gallery, 60 Ward Avenue, Mercerville,

609-890-7777.

"Together By Chance," a group exhibition by apprentices of

the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture, featuring LaRue

Harding, James Love, Claudia Moore, Carey Netherton, Colleen

O’Donnell,

Catherine Perry, Chris Rothermel, and Natalie Tyler. Opening reception

is Saturday, August 12, for the show that continues to August 31.

Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Grounds for Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton,

609-586-0616. Summer Exhibition features, in the Museum and Domestic

Arts Building, "Washington Sculptors Group," a juried

exhibition

of 60 recent sculptures. On the Grounds, "Dana Stewart,"

imaginative,

mythical beasts in bronze from the New Jersey artist. New outdoors,

sculptures by Red Grooms, G. Frederick Morante, Kenneth Payne, and

Larry Young. To September 10.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State Street, Trenton,

609-292-6310. "Building a Collection: Fine Art at the New Jersey

State Museum," to August 20; "The Art of Jack Delano,"

to September 4. On extended view: "Of Rock and Fire;"

"Washington

Crossing the Delaware;" "New Jersey and the Great Ice

Age;"

"Dinosuar Turnpike;" "A Convocation of Eagles;" and

"Amber: the Legendary Resin." Tuesday through Saturday, 9

a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

Rhinehart-Fischer Gallery, 46 West Lafayette, Trenton,

609-695-0061. Group show of painting, sculpture, and photography by

area artists including Marge Miccio, Eric Fowler, Thom Reaves, Tom

Chiola, Marguerite Doernbach, Joseph Menna, and Erica Stanga.

Wednesday

to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Top Of Page
Other Galleries

The Artful Deposit, 201 Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown,

609-298-6970. On display and available for purchase, six works in

ceramics by the late James Colavita. Show features his "Portrait

of Susan," a tribute in ceramics to the artist’s wife. Thursday

through Saturday, 4 to 8 p.m.

Hopewell Frame Shop, 24 West Broad Street, Hopewell,

609-466-0817.

"Reflections," a show of watercolors by Gail Bracegirdle and

students who include Kathy Siegfried, Stephanie Lin, Nancy Myers,

William McCarroll, Patrice Sprovieri, Anne S. Williams, and others.

To August 19.

McDowell’s Restaurant, 146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Road,

Lawrenceville, 609-896-1611. Maxwell Nimeck, a retired microbiologist

and avid gardener, shows oil paintings on floral and landscape themes.

To August 29.

Montgomery Cultural Center, 1860 House, 124 Montgomery

Road, 609-921-3272. "Summer Madness," works by members of

the Professional Artists Group. Part of sales benefit the 1860 House.

Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Show runs

to August 31.

Morpeth Gallery, 43 West Broad Street, Hopewell,

609-333-9393.

Gallery owner Ruth Morpeth celebrates the opening of her new gallery

location with a group show, "Selected Works by Contemporary

Artists."

Featured artists include Robert Beck, Micheal Madigan, Paul Mordelsky,

Betty Curtiss, Tomi Urayama, and Ann Ridings. Also Philadelphia area

artists David Shevlino and Christine Lafunente. Tuesday to Saturday,

11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Top Of Page
Art by the River

Coryell Gallery at the Porkyard, 8 Coryell Street,

Lambertville,

609-397-0804. The gallery celebrates its 20th annual Summer Exhibition

featuring gallery artists Augustine, Baumgartner, Bross, Ceglia,

Chavooshian,

Ermentrout, Farnham, Lennox, Chesar, Miller, Rinninger, Ross, Sakson,

Scott, Silvia, Van Hook, Von Betzen, Dellenbaugh, Douris, Tsubota,

and Watts. Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Show runs to September 30.

Goldsmiths Gallery, 26 North Union Street, Lambertville,

609-397-4590. Photographs by New Jersey multi-media artist Victor

Macarol whose work has been shown at the New Jersey State Museum,

Galerie Fink in Paris, and Galerie Mesmer in Basel, Switzerland. Open

Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To September 21.

In Rare Form Gallery, 14 Church Street, Lambertville,

609-397-1006. Seven-year retrospective of the Dutch-based Droog Design

company, edited by DMD for area interiors. Show remains on view,

Thursdays

through Monday, noon to 5 p.m., to August 16.

Morning Star Gallery, 7 North Main Street, Lambertville,

609-397-3939. Images from Robert Drapala’s new volume of photographs,

"Portrait of the Outer Banks," written by Torrey Kim. As a

licensed pilot, Drapala has spent two decades creating a portfolio

of aerial and group photographs of the region. Also on exhibit are

his images of the Delaware Valley including barns, churches, and

landscapes.

Gallery is open Fridays and Saturdays, 1 to 5 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to

4 p.m. To August 13.

Top Of Page
To the North

American Hungarian Foundation, 300 Somerset Street, New

Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "Then and Now: Recent Museum Acquisitions

of Art and Folk Art." To September 17. Donation $5. Museum hours

are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.

Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts, 33 Livingston

Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-932-2222, ext. 838. "The Paper Trail:

Douglass Howell and Four Pioneers in the Art of Handmade Paper,"

an exibition of works by contemporary artists working at the New

York-based

Dieu Donne Papermill and at the Rutgers Ceter for Innovative Print

and Paper. Galleries are open Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 1

to 8 p.m. To August 12.

The show begins with the work of Howell (1906-94) who transformed

handmade paper into an art form. The four pioneers who followed his

lead are his students Laurence Barker and Golda Lewis, and Walter

Hamady and Clinton Hill. Together their works illustrate the

post-Howell

era of sculptural forms, pigmented pulps, embedded materials, and

artists’ books.

Printmaking Council of New Jersey, 440 River Road, North

Branch Station, 908-725-2110. The 26th annual Members’ Juried

exhbition

of monotypes, woodcuts, etchings, photographs, mezzotints, and

handmade

paper. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.;

Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. To August 26.

Quietude Garden Gallery, 24 Fern Road, East Brunswick,

732-257-4340. The contemporary sculpture gallery’s "New Artists,

New Ideas, New Season" show, featuring work by more than 100

artists

in natural outdoor installations. Featured artists include Sarah

D’Alessandro,

Charles Welles, and Liz Whitney Quisgard. Gallery hours are Friday

to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and by appointment.

Top Of Page
Other Museums

James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street,

Doylestown,

215-340-9800. "John Goodyear: Thinking into Form, Works

1950-2000,"

a 50-year retrospective by the Lambertville-based conceptual artist,

curated by Henry Hose. Both painter and installation artist, Goodyear

taught at Rutgers from 1964 to 1997. The show highlights each period

of Goodyear’s career, and includes paintings, kinetic works, and

conceptual

works from the "Heat Sculpture" series, "Death of

Socrates,"

and "Earth Curve." To September 17.

Also an installation by Yardley sculptor Elizabeth Miller McCue

including

a life-size sculpture inspired by Monet’s famous "Haystacks"

series; to October 22. Also, "Sublime Servers: A Celebration of

Theatrical Possibilities at the Table," a cornucopia of expressive

ceramic sculpture and vessels by 30 artists, organized by the

Baltimore

Clayworks and curated by Gail M. Brown; to September 3.

Museum hours Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday &

Sunday,

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. $5 adults; $1.50 students; children free. Website:

www.michenerartmuseum.org.


Previous Story Next Story


Corrections or additions?


This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments