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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The edgy side of paper

    Local artist Betsy Farmer shows her work to UA art professor Andy Polk Saturday evening at the opening of the Paperworks show at the Dinnerware Art Gallery downtown. Betsy Farmer is a member of the Paperworks art collective that specializes in paper and book art; Farmer specializes in fiber work and papermaking.
    Local artist Betsy Farmer shows her work to UA art professor Andy Polk Saturday evening at the opening of the Paperworks show at the Dinnerware Art Gallery downtown. Betsy Farmer is a member of the Paperworks art collective that specializes in paper and book art; Farmer specializes in fiber work and papermaking.

    Paper is a common material that we encounter every day. As with other common materials, artists have found ways to transform this medium and fashion it with their own creative ideas.

    “”The Art of Paperworks”” is an exhibit put on by Paperwords, the Sonoran Collective for Paper and Book Artists and is at Dinnerware Artspace, 264 E. Congress St. Despite the thought that most works on paper would be flat, the majority of the pieces in the show are three-dimensional and pop off the wall.

    Artist Nancy Stevens uses folded slips of paper glued onto her painted canvas to create the effect of wings ready to take flight in her piece, “”Five Feathers.””

    Judith Kohn’s “”Off the Grid”” pieces are paper sculptures where little squares or triangles pop off the page like empty advent calendars.

    Even the seemingly flat pieces pop out at you if you look at them long enough. Mary Ellen Palmeri has three pieces created from folded origami paper, and they are in thick frames to allow the pieces room to pop. In “”Three Pandas”” little folded pandas stare out at the viewer while hanging from bamboo sticks and in “”Circle of Women”” a pentagon of five women wearing kimonos are placed on paper that has embossed and raised umbrellas between them.

    Connie Teeple’s ink and torn paper collage landscape is simple yet remarkable because the perforations in the pulpy paper are very similar to the ridges of mountains.

    “”Ever since I was a little girl I have loved paper,”” said Teeple, a graphic artist and member of Paperworks for four years. “”I loved drawing on paper, I loved collecting paper. I have never ever exhibited before but I was excited about the response in the show. I’m looking forward to being able to exhibit again.””

    The Paperworks mission is to “”provide educational and creative opportunities for all who work with and on paper and promotes the appreciation and enjoyment of the paper and book arts through regular and special events.”” This group has meetings that are open to the public on the second Thursday of every month. To participate in activities you must be a member and membership is $25 ($15 for students).

    One of the specialties that members of Paperworks create is an artist book. Artist books are entirely handmade, and the works in this exhibit are fun-themed like Sue Agnew’s “”It’s all about knowing the score – my first golf game.”” This book folds out like an accordion and every 3-inch by 3-inch page features a hole and some information about what happened at that hole in a golf game between “”Buddy and Me.””

    Also by Agnew is “”Words to Love By,”” a geometric heart shaped book where each meticulously heart shaped page has a positive affirmation on it like “”Say ‘thank you’ for each sunrise”” and “”Find something to like in every person.””

    Despite all of the exciting works bursting off the walls, the flat pieces are not to be missed. Barbara Brandel uses cancelled stamps for her wanderlust-themed collages. In “”Angel of Travel”” a winged creature is made up entirely of stamps, with a pleated stamp skirt and a face stamp as her head. She flies over a map, dangling her postmark sneakers.

    Paper can, of course, be mixed with photography and Julian M. Miller blends the two mediums by printing her photos onto handmade paper. Her already grainy photos of the Mission San Xavier del Bac receive an ancient carbon-dated element when applied to the homespun paper.

    Sometimes flat and three-dimensional come together in one piece, like with Nadia Hibka’s collage with gel transfer, “”Resurrection.”” This piece features cutouts of math equations, a blurry face and a silhouette behind it, Egyptian hieroglyphics on the bottom, and in one corner real teeth are glued to the canvas. They sit in a little Verident Plastic holder and add an eerie perspective to the theme of rebirth.

    If you think you can do interesting things with paper, or anything creative for that matter, Dinnerware Artspace recently purchased a new space a few doors down from its gallery and the first exhibit is dedicated to UA and Pima Community College students.

    “”That particular building was available and when the price was right we decided to go for it,”” said David Aguirre, director of Dinnerware. “”We think it will bring fresh new energy from the university into downtown. We’ve had a lot of interest in the show so we expect more than 50 student artists to come in and exhibit this next week.””

    This new space is the Tucson Arts Incubator Gallery and it will accept student submissions March 7-8 from noon to 5 p.m. and March 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The entry fee is $8 and all UA and PCC students are welcome to submit up to three pieces of their two-dimensional or three-dimensional work. All proceeds from sold works go to the individual artists.

    “”I was excited that they’re having a show just for UA and Pima students because artists that are going to school don’t get that many opportunities to show their work in a gallery show,”” said Jo Edmondson, a senior majoring in art history and art education at the UA. Edmondson is submitting an oil painting “”Before I knew what was going to happen.””

    “”I think it’s a very rare opportunity. You’re not going to find a gallery that’s going to give you a 100 percent commission anywhere else.””

    A reception for “”On Site: New Works by UA and PCC Artists”” will be held March 15 at 7 p.m. The show will be up until March 29 at 108 E. Congress St.

    Patrons who are interested in learning how to create artist books can participate in a free workshop with Mary Ellen Palmeri on March 8 from 10 a.m. to noon. You must reserve a spot because space is limited to 12 people, but you will learn how to make small form ornament books like One Sheet Flutter books and stitched booklets. To reserve a spot, e-mail or call 792-4502.

    “”Paperworks”” will be up until March 28. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

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