Sunday, 13 January 2013

The First Cut

So I've been writing the blog for nearly two years and have just reached 100 posts, which I don't think is too bad for me! I do hope to increase the regularity of my posting and really get in to the blog this year. Thank you to all my followers and readers, I have thoroughly enjoyed the great social network of makers that the blogging world has opened up to me.  

With paper being my passion and essentially what has driven this blog, as my 100th blog post I thought it would be apt blog about a wonderfully inspiring exhibition I went to visit before Christmas. The First Cut is a beautiful exhibition showcasing the amazing work of paper artists, who 'radically rethink the possibilities of working with paper and take it beyond its natural boundaries.'

The exhibition is filled with incredible works crafted out of paper, from the tiny intricate scale to the ginormous, all somewhat overwhelming and I would urge everybody to go and see it. The exhibition is also accompanied by a lovely catalogue, which details the makers much better than I could but I thought I would share a few of ones which really stood out to me.

On arrival you are met by an impressive floor installation by Andrea Mastrovio, a huge garden created somewhat simply out of seed and plant catalogues, but very cleverly arranged, propped opened at different or repeated pages, with elements cut out to create a wonderful feeling of texture amongst a mass of colour. On closer inspection you then spot the amphibious creatures hiding amongst the garden, really making you want to get in amongst the flowers and explore.

The next large work you are drawn to is this wonderfully atmospheric piece by Andrew singleton. The piece runs from floor to ceiling (in what is a very tall space!) and it really does feel as if you are about to get swallowed up in the swirling storm like environment created. The cut black paper against the white walls is such a dramatic contrast and I love the lace like shadows it projects on the walls, really adding to the drama of the piece.

Drawing myself away to observe the immensely detailed and wonderfully intricate work of Peter Callesen who creates scenes out of a single piece of paper, and of course Rob Ryan's specially commissioned piece for the exhibition. Moving on past a wonderful moving mechanical piece of paper cogs a wall of framed pages then grabbed my attention. Abigail Renyolds has created these wonderful geometric pieces out of clevery folding images from the same compendium but of different years into each other, exploring the idea of a moment in time.

It was nice to see the work of Clare Brewster, having blogged about her work before (after seeing her at Origin in 2011) and following her progress on twitter. Her paper cut birds are beautiful and so effective both far away and up close, utilising the wondeful colours of the paper maps from which they are created and the clever mounting producing wonderful shadows on the wall and giving them an almost three-dimensional feel. (I was somewhat dissapointed not to see the work of other Origin makers, Sarah Morpeth or Rebecca Coles, but then that does make our pieces all the more special!).

Su Blackwell's book are absolutely stunning and I have admired her work for a while but never had the chance to actually see it in the flesh so this was a great opportunity to get up close and really explore the detail and appreciate the process involved. Her other piece on display, Wuthering Heights, was a beautifully intricate diorama scene of a farmhouse which was lit romantically, giving an almost fairy tale feel to the creation. You can see this piece and more of her work on her website.

The other person I wanted to share was the beautiful work of Violise Lunn. Her work was on at the Gallery of Costume, unfortunatly I didn't get any pictures but I found these on her website. Her dresses were so delicate and so full of movement it was if you could still see the dancer within. I also was mesmerised by the detail in her gorgeous and amazingly crafted shoes... if only I was made of paper too!

The first cut is on in Manchester until the end of January, but for my family and friends in Nottingham, the exhibition shall also be on in Nottingham at the Djanogly Art Gallery, 20 April - 9 June this year. I might have to go again!

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