Ebony G. Patterson’s multi-layered works are willfully superficial. The Jamaican artist weaves together a mélange of torn papers, tassels, appliqués, and feathered butterflies to create striking gardens replete with glitter and vibrant hues. “In many ways, I think of the work as the flower and the audience as the bees,” Patterson told Nasher Museum. “The bee is first attracted to the flower because of its color, but it’s not until you start peeling back the layers that you understand what’s happening with the nectar.”
Often set against wallpaper of her own design, Patterson’s mixed-media tapestries and smaller works are immersive and captivating, inviting study of both individual elements and how they interact. Hidden beneath the obvious allure of flora and fauna, though, are more complex, sinister messages of identity, violence, and death. Likened to “secret poisons,” these inferences relate to the anguish and perpetual mourning many women feel, and in her sprawling tapestry titled “the wailing…guides us home…and there is a bellying on the land…,” for example, feminine hands and limbs attempt to grasp for something beyond the entangled mass of jacquard and beads. “Each form bravely assumes a posture of distress, the onerous emotional and physical labor required to conduct acts of devotion, the soul care that grants permission to confront historic and inherited traumas,” a statement says.
Patterson lives and works between Kingston, Jamaica, and Chicago, and she’s included in multiple upcoming shows: What is Left Unspoken, Love opening on March 25 at the High Museum in Atlanta, a solo exhibition at Hales Gallery running from May 5 to June 18, and this November, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Until then, you can explore more of her elaborate works at moniquemeloche, where she’s represented.
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Wolfram Kampffmeyer (previously) crafts vibrant, geometric snakes and jaguars that appear to plunge from the wall. The German designer has spent the better part of a decade prototyping digital renderings of polygon sculptures and taxidermy-style busts that he then translates to DIY kits sold under the Paperwolf brand. Minimal and playfully colored, Kapffmeyer’s menagerie includes a seated koala, multiple birds in flight, and of course, the original majestic wolf. In addition to patterning pieces for his Etsy shop, the designer also works on a variety of commissions and collaborations, which result in large-scale sculptures in steel and wood.
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Artist Lee Hyun-Joung likens her meditative renderings to pathways that prompt the eye to travel along each line. Working with Korean ink and traditional pigments on handmade Hanji paper, Lee’s practice is as contemplative as the resulting pieces, which portray heaving mounds and supple ridges reminiscent of mountains and other land formations. “My universe is poetic,” she tells Colossal, “like an inner journey. I invite you to take a walk, to follow me in these aerial views. They were born from the breath of my Korean childhood, from my eternal taste for painting, my search for life.”
Composed with black and shades of green or blue, the abstracted works are rhythmic and methodical and evoke the texture of thread stitched in precise rows. A central ripple stretching from one end of the paper to the other bisects many of the pieces, with the sinuous markings connecting the two parts. “Each line can be seen as a day, or an instant we have already lived through or that we are still living in,” says a statement from Galerie Sept, which represents the artist.
Lee’s experience studying fine arts at Sejong University and her formal training in goldsmithing continue to influence her practice, she says, and the artist often splits her time between Seoul and Paris, although she’s been living primarily in the French capital in recent years. Her paintings will be on view at Galerie Sept’s new space in Knokke, Belgium, as part of a group show opening on April 30. (via artnet)
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Patrick Cabral re-envisions the intricate veins striping the tail of a fish and grooves in a pangolin’s scales with delicate, lace-like flourishes. The Manila-based artist is known for his sculptural portraits of wild animals and fantastical creatures that layer hundreds of paper cutouts into stunning three-dimensional works. Primarily composed with white, Cabral’s most recent pieces utilize gold for trimming a hippo’s facial features and heightening the depth and texture of the coiling, intertwined bodies of a dragon and its rival. The metallic material also adds contrast to a pair of koi swimming in a circular yin and yang formation.
Currently, Cabral is finishing a few works that will be exhibited from March 18 to 20 as part of Xavier Art Fest, a group exhibition raising money for victims of Typhoon Rai that devastated the southern Philippines last December. Check out his Instagram to see a variety of commissions and personal projects, in addition to a short video detailing his painstaking hand-carving and gluing process.
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Japan-based artist Ayumi Shibata (previously) designs intricate landscapes using layers upon layers of white paper. Some of her sculptures are miniature, whereas others are immersive installations, and all are brought to life with the play of light and shadow, which create “movement” throughout her pieces. The works feature architectural domes, cave-like forests, and swirling suns hovering over tree-filled cities. These picturesque places aren’t based on a particular location but what the artist “hopes and believes the future of the planet could look like”.
Shibata’s ethereal landscapes envision a world in which humans and natural forms coexist, and she describes her pieces as having a “Yin and Yang” element. Paper represents Yin, the material, and the ways the works emit shadows correlates to Yang, the invisible world. “The light represents spirit and life, how the sun rises and breathes life into the world,” she explains. “I believe my pieces are a place to observe the material world and the visible one.”
The physical elements have a deeper meaning for the artist, as well: In Japanese, Kami means god or spirit but also paper, a sacred material in the Shinto religion. “Invisible ‘Kami’ spirits dwell in various objects and events, places, as well as in our houses and in our bodies,” she says. “I use my technique to express my thankfulness to the Kami spirits for having been born in this life. Each piece of paper I cut is a prayer.”
Shibata began constructing these sculptures when living in New York. She would visit a church to meditate and escape the noise of the city, and it was when she observed light illuminating stained glass that she was reminded of her love of working with paper. The artist explains:
The city was full of noise. Everything, people, time goes so fast and moves rapidly, and I needed a quiet space to go back to myself. One day, I opened my eyes after meditation and saw colorful light flooding the floor through the stained glass. It was breathtakingly beautiful. It reminded me of a memory from childhood where I used to cut black paper and stick colored cellophane behind it to make a ‘paper’ stained glass piece. I got the tools on my way home and tried it that night. From that moment, I continued to cut paper.
Currently, Shibata is working on an installation called “Inochino-uta, Poetry of Life,” for an exhibition later this year. The large-scale project is made out of 108 pieces of paper connected by strings and suspended from the ceiling. To view more of the artist’s work, visit her Instagram or website.
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Artist Amy Genser translates gnarled roots, coral reefs, and other organic forms into expansive, abstract topographies. Her primary material is mulberry paper rolled into tight cylinders, which she nestles into colorful masses that trail into seas of acrylic paint. Whether on canvas, PVC, or another base, the dense compositions sprawl in every direction and peek over the edges in small ridges.
After moving to a larger studio space in Hartford, Connecticut, about four years ago, Genser has expanded the scale of her works, which previously were confined to smaller canvases. Recent projects include wall sculptures spanning multiple feet, free-standing pieces, and a site-specific installation titled “Shifting,” which just opened at Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts—see photos of the artist’s process behind the massive work on her Instagram.
No matter the scale or form, each piece speaks to the climate crisis and uses the small, dyed coils to draw “attention to the beauty of our natural world,” she tells Colossal.
There is an inextricable link between my art and environmentalism. I am inspired by our earth and solar system and use natural materials in my work. I primarily use mulberry paper, which is created from the regenerative branches of a mulberry tree. I have a hard time justifying the use of materials with trying to conserve our natural resources. I’m adding new material into the work, more “stuff.” I try to minimize my use of unnatural materials.
For more of Genser’s intricate structures, explore her extensive portfolio.
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