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Eretz Israel museum paper exhibition

Israeli Paper Art exhibition 2013 – Paper Art View

I am thrilled to have attended the opening evening of the Israeli Paper Art exhibition 2013 at the Eretz Israel Museum. What I can say is this: the rich diversity of creative paper artworks created by twenty select Israeli-based artists captivated me and would not let go.

Unlike the first paper exhibition held in 2008, whose focal point was to represent the historical aspects of paper art, this exhibit depicts the current state of contemporary Israeli paper art. A wonderful job was done by Dr. Sorin Heller, the highly acclaimed curator of visual art. One of Heller’s criteria for selecting the works on display was that the medium of paper be an ongoing and significant component in the works of the chosen artists. Heller divided the exhibition into three sections: paper as a material for translating reality; converting the paper object – from representation of reality to creation of art, and lastly, combined use of traditional and contemporary techniques.

I was touched by how this exhibition glorifies paper, and I am evenly impressed by the new approaches and techniques that utilize paper in a wide variety of media such as installations, objects, sculptures, photographic paper, paper cutting, weaving and folding. To quote Heller, “The exhibit presents working in paper as a kind of obsessive occupation and an almost devotion – a kind of perfectionism which is expressed in this material particular”.

I strongly recommend visiting the exhibition, which will be held until March 14th, 2014. This despite the fact that on a personal level, these eyes would have liked to have enjoyed more paper delights! Also, I think it will be a real shame to wait another five years for the next Paper Art exhibition. Paper art is thriving here in Israel (and worldwide) at a rapid speed. And I’m truly happy about that!

Here is a selection of some of my favorite paper art pieces for you to enjoy!

Carmel Ilan Sea

Carmel Ilan North Wind

“Sea” (2011) and “North Wind” (2012) by paper artist Carmel Ilan, who folds and cuts pages from encyclopedias, her childhood notebooks and monthlies in order to reinvent new personal memories that she channels into social and cultures mold.

Andi Arnovitz

The artwork “Coat of the Agunah” (2010) by Andi Arnovitz, in which the artist cuts ancient Jewish marriage agreements (prints) into small strips and sews them in new arrangements in order to free Jewish women from arbitrary prohibitions.

Moshe Gordon

The untitled artwork (2012) by Moshe Gordon – a large wheel of concentric circles in which he reworks newspapers, encyclopedias and books, then perfectly blends color and text to create a balanced harmony. Gordon leaves it to it viewer to decipher his works.

Etamar Beglikter

Etamar Beglikter‘s Butterfly installations, in which the artist cuts atlases into butterfly shapes as a homage to the disastrous fire on Mount Carmel in which the butterflies symbolizes death and the atlases our planet Earth.

Yael Ben - Zvi

“Memories” ( 2010) is a series of cardboard boxes of artist/designer Yael Ben-Zvi . She cuts images of her childhood memories. For her the act of cutting is analogous to etching on memory.

Elise Wehle’s Paper Art interview by Paper Art View

Today “Paper Art View” celebrates the artworks and an interview with the exciting paper artist Elise Wehle. The unlimited possibilities of paper awakened an endless creativity in Wehle . In her intricate paper art Wehle using a combination of photo manipulation, paper layering and printmaking techniques to transform found imagery into her own unique works. Wehle is an expert of mixing various mediums like: embroidery, cutting patterns, weaving and folding shapes to fabricate new landscapes that are giving you the feel of forgotten treasures. Elise Wehle’s paper art inspiration lays in torn posters hanging on city walls.

Elise Wehle Girl looks back PaperArtView

Elise Wehle moth wings PaperArtView

Elise Wehle observation of leaf PaperArtView

Could you please give an introduction on yourself?
I’m originally from California, but not the typical California depicted in T.V. shows. My hometown is a smaller, desert community surrounded by rocks and sandy hills. It wasn’t exactly a cultural epicenter, and my high school rarely offered art classes beyond Drawing and Painting I. Fortunately I was accepted to Brigham Young University, and although I was pretty unprepared for their competitive art program, I had very supportive professors who helped me catch up and work hard. I graduated in 2012 with my Bachelor of Fine Arts and have been making art ever since.

What are you seeking to portray in your artworks, what’s fundamental to your process and philosophy?
Although it may not be obvious in the subject matter, technology plays a big role in my artwork. Most of my art is an excuse to spend time away from ones and zeros. I don’t hate technology, and I use it all the time, but sometimes I overdose on it which makes me pretty discontent. That’s why my work almost always involves a hand-intensive process. I love using my hands and creating something real and tangible with them. Although it initially sounds like something negative, I appreciate when my hands and fingers slightly ache after a long day of art-making. It signifies that I was connected to something real for hours on end. Paper cutting, weaving, and embroidering all give me this experience which is why I use them so much in my art.
While beauty is sometimes an unpopular word in the contemporary art world, I also want my art to be beautiful. While the concepts and ideas behind my work are crucial to it, I also hope it’s aesthetically successful. I pick subject matter that brings me joy by reminding me of the many beautiful experiences I have had in my life.

How come paper became your premium medium for your art creations? And what inspires you?
I was originally a painter, but I found painting very daunting. When I’d start a painting the blank canvas felt endless and overwhelming. There were too many possibilities, and I had no idea where to start on any of them. I had a hard time figuring out how to stretch the boundaries of what I was creating because there were no boundaries. Somewhere around this time I traveled to Italy for a few months, and I fell in love with the torn posters found on almost every urban wall. I started making collages out of them, and suddenly I felt invigorated. I loved that the material offered so many limitations. I only had what I found on the walls, and I quickly discovered that I am more creative when I have restrictions to fight against. This experience really helped me move past some of the stumbling blocks I had from painting. As I experimented with paper more, I discovered that it too offered endless possibilities like painting but in different ways that I really liked. I could do anything with it–bend it, cut it, weave it, fold it, etc. I could both add and take away from the paper. Basically, it’s a material too awesome to turn my back on, and now I get giddy every time I walk into a paper store.
I’m still really inspired by torn posters on city walls. They’re like mini-diaries, records of how weather and time have changed them. They’ve inspired the distressed, torn look that I use so often in my collages.

As a paper artist could you reveal some of the things that go into creating your intricate collages images
I usually start an artwork by finding a photograph that I really love. I then transfer the photo onto thick paper. Sometimes this is done through intaglio, a printmaking process I learned while in college, or sometimes I use gel medium and transfer the photo directly. When it comes to the latter, usually the entire photo doesn’t adhere to the paper, and it creates a distressed look. I then use a combination of punches and x-acto knives to create my paper cuts. I cut into the artwork vigorously, and once I’m finished I usually take some of the original photograph and paste it back on top of the cut out pattern. I’ll go back in with a wet cloth and carefully remove more of the paper until I feel like the composition successfully works together.

Any upcoming interesting exhibitions, events, new projects you love to share with us?
Right now I have some art in the exhibit Cut, Fold, Shred! in St. Petersburg, Florida if you’re nearby. Closer to my home, I have an exhibit titled 90 Visions 60 Days in Salt Lake City, Utah featuring a lot of my new pieces. At the beginning of next year, the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design will feature some of my work in their show Obsessively Reductive. Hopefully some of you can stop by!

Carmel Ilan blog photo 1

Paper artist Carmel Ilan – “The Paper Takes Me”

Breathtaking are the works of Carmel Ilan, an Israeli paper artist that I encountered during my visit to the “Fresh Paint 2013” event in Tel Aviv.

Carmel was studying sculpture when she found herself challenged with a self-portrait assignment and discovered the magic of paper. From that moment on, paper became her premier medium. And let me tell you, Carmel has definitely taken paper to a whole new level.

There is a lot to love about Carmel’s works of art. From up close, you feel overwhelmed by the amount of labor and hand-craft: numerous skillfully folded pieces of paper layered into a wooden base. Take a few steps backwards, and you are struck by the subtle forms that are created either by the various densities of paper layers, or by the slightest touch of color change, or by the play of heights. I was absolutely moved and awe-inspired!

Carrmel Ilan blog photo woman

Carmel considers her art as a personal journey and a reflection of her state of being. “The paper takes me”, she says. She begins with many sketches, after which she chooses the one she feels she needs to work with. The final result is always a change apart from the initial conception, influenced by the textures and colors of the paper but also by the atmosphere, feelings and moods of the artist herself.

There is this pure feeling about Carmel’s work. There are no color manipulations and the papers are taken out of old books, donated by various libraries. Not only does her art isolate her from the hectic world outside of her studio, but the working process and paper forces her to take it slow. She really loves and embraces this form of “Slow Art”, and it shows.

Carmel is currently preparing for a solo exhibition in Japan in 2014. She has generously shared with us three beautiful photos of her ingenious paper art. The woman is absolutely my favorite one! It is filled with multi-layered mystery, yet at the same time it is bare to the core, almost vulnerable. I feel very fortunate, as Carmel also invited me to her studio, which is a fantastic opportunity to witness this great artist at work (I will keep you posted).

Carmel Ilan blog photo 3

Paper artist Carmel Ilan’s works are presented by Rawart Gallery, and a wide presentation of her works can be found on her website.