Art on paper: drawing, prints, photographs many of these once played second fiddle to painting and sculpture but not any more; today, works on paper are considered just as important as more traditionally revered media and many artists make a conscious choice to work on and in paper. Museums have noticed this and some are dedicated strictly to the promotion and display of paper based media. Collectors also are increasingly acquiring a full range of works on paper, including handmade books, collage, photography, etching, woodcuts and so on.
Artists often feel more freedom working on paper: ideas can be fleshed out on this low cost material. It is wonderfully flexible and beautiful, can be folded for easy transport, torn, stained, sewn, cut and pasted in simple and direct ways. Paper has a long and noble history, beginning with papyrus used in ancient Egypt. Paper as we know it today, traces its roots back to China c. AD 100 and contributed greatly to the spread of civilization. Paper manufacturing was spread to Europe by Muslims living on the Iberian Peninsula and to Sicily in the 10th century, and slowly to Italy and Southern France reaching Germany by 1400 when it was mechanized. While the craft of papermaking spread throughout the world it remained a relatively small-scale artisan activity until it's industrialization in the 19th century.
Today, however, there are still many specialty papermaking artisans who supply artists and crafters alike. Locally in NYC one can visit Dieu Donné Papermill which still makes paper and works directly with artists to produce unique works.
Collage is perhaps one of the first and most loved experimental paper techniques, used by the Japanese in the 10th century. The 20th century saw the emergence of paper being incorporated directly into painting by the Cubists. Today paper has never been more alive as a medium. Great places to see work in our area include The Drawing Center in Manhattan and The Morgan Library.
Paper is easy to collect offering informal options to enjoy art in the home environment. Enjoy works on paper by visiting galleries, museums or simply by searching on line to gain knowledge about this age old natural material.
Mary Judge is an artist and owner of Schema Projects a gallery in Brooklyn dedicated to works on paper. Please visit our website and add your name to our mailing list and view other works.
"December Diptych" by Nina Bovasso
"The Pale Blue Dot" by Paula Overbay
"Amanda's Lunch" by Josette Urso