An exhibition of new work by ten artists who mainly use paper as their medium
L. issue Gallery at the Urban Café, Smithdown Road.
The exhibition continues until 12th September.

Reviewed by Barbara Jones

All of the artists contributing to this exhibition are members of “Paperweight”, a national group who “see paper as an exciting medium and challenge its traditional boundaries”. In today’s society paper is regarded as a cheap, disposable material but these artists are challenging this premise and reinvesting the medium of paper with great creative potential and value.

The use of paper as a Fine Art medium would be questioned by some for its lack of stability. After all, paper fades and even disintegrates over time, but the very impermanence of this art is part of its beauty. Some would criticise ‘paper art’ for its close association with ‘craft’, but there are many examples of Fine Art which explore the false demarcation lines between ‘Art’ and ‘Craft’, Tracey Emin to name one.

So all of the art works are made from paper, either hand made or ready made or recycled. At first Nicola Jackson’s works look like conventional flower paintings until seen close-up when the physical texture of the coarse hand-made paper can be detected, acting as the support for the brilliant colours with which she has infused the work.

Christine Heath’s large scale works use a similar technique; she appears to have ‘painted’ with different coloured paper pulp to create her pieces.

Although I appreciate such highly colourful art I prefer the pieces which exploit the natural tones of the material. Jennie Gilling’s creation is very simple but effective, a series of small pieces of hand-made paper with ghost-like impressions of leaves.

Jennifer Alexander employs the material’s intrinsic hues combined with subtle, pale colours. Her work is inspired by the poetry of Robert Burns and she has experimented with the effect of weather on her paper by exposing it to the elements, in particular rain and snow.

Antonia Spowers uses ‘found’ paper to create organic, abstract pieces which show the full range of subtle ‘colours’ which white paper can provide. These works are becoming sculptural, the paper making an attempt to escape the confines of the frame.

Margaret Crossley’s sculptures, made from recycled magazine pages, are based on the signs of the zodiac. They are delicately constructed layer by layer, giving a multi-coloured textured surface.

Altogether this is a fascinating exhibition which introduces the viewer to the subtleties and delicateness of the medium of paper. I was already a disciple of the cult of ‘Paper’, and I hope this interesting show will manage to convert new members from the viewing public.