Contemporary Silhouettes: the Art of Cut Paper

October 11 – December 23, 2017

COTUIT- The Cahoon Museum of American Art presents an original exhibition, Contemporary Silhouettes: the Art of Cut Paper, featuring intricate and inspired artwork produced in the form of cut paper. Artists in this exhibition include nationally known artists, including significant contemporary and historic artists from Cape Cod: Elizabeth Alexander (Winston-Salem, NC), Pamela Dalton (Ghent, NY), Ernesto Caivano (New York, NY), Fred Liang (Boston, MA), Lucy Gibbons Morse (Cotuit, MA), Randal Thurston (Boston, MA), Tomas Vu Danial (New York, NY), and Yuan Zuo (Dennis, MA). Drawing upon many global folk traditions, including Scherenschnitte, jianzhi, and American portrait silhouettes, these artists reimagine innovative new handcrafted pieces. Curated by Cahoon Museum director Sarah Johnson, the exhibit opens on Wednesday, October 11 and continues through Saturday, December 23, 2017. A free public reception with the artists will be held on Saturday, October 14 from 4:30 to 6:00pm at the Museum’s location at 4676 Falmouth Road in Cotuit.

A special press preview will take place on Wednesday, October 11 at 10:00am; rsvp to Christy Laidlaw, Communications and Membership Manager,

The artists featured in Contemporary Silhouettes use techniques of paper cutting to address themes including domesticity, Victorian fairies, political censorship, pattern and design, and the interrelationship between people and nature; their artworks range from small-scale two-dimensional artworks to large-scale installations.

Elizabeth Alexander teaches sculpture in the Visual Arts Program of the School of Design and Production at the University of North Carolina and is an interdisciplinary artist specializing in sculptures and installations made from paper and found objects. Alexander’s paper collage series, An Illustrated Guide to Tableware, uses source material from The Bullfinch Anatomy of Antique China & Silver published by Bullfinch Press in 1998.

Ernesto Caivano is known for his fantastical, narrative-based ink drawings. Born in Madrid, Spain and Caivano currently lives and works in New York City. He has studied at the Cooper Union and Columbia University in New York. He has shown his work in solo and group exhibitions at White Cube in London, PS1/MoMA in Long Island City, New York, the Royal Academy of the Arts in London, the Aspen Art Museum, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Caivano participated in the 2004 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

Paper artist, Pamela Dalton, carries on the tradition of papercutting brought to America in the eighteenth century by the early Dutch settlers in Pennsylvania. Dalton sketches each design freehand before cutting it by hand, and she grounds her Scherenschnitte work in popular historical themes such as patriotism, biblical and religious motifs, and scenes from rural life.

Boston-based artist Fred Liang suspends his intricate cut paper installation, Stream, created out of sliced gold Arjowiggin paper, by nylon filament from the museum’s 20 foot cupola. Liang is currently the Chair of Fine Art 2D at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Lucy Gibbons Morse (Cotuit, 1839-1936) was an adept artist in the medium of cut paper. Using surgical scissors, Morse cut intricate and delightful silhouettes of local flora, peopled with imaginative fairies, a popular subject in her time.

Randal Thurston’s detailed black-on-white cut paper installations amplify the formal simplicity of the silhouette; he isolates individual shapes and then groups them together according to systems of balance and symmetry, working with hundreds of hand-cut pieces in his wall-sized monochromatic compositions. Randal Thurston’s artwork has been featured at the Decordova Museum and Sculpture Park, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Fuller Craft Museum. He currently teaches at New England School of Art Design at Suffolk University.

Tomas Vu Danial creates landscapes -in the broadest sense of the word- in his series Flatland. In Danial’s work, silhouettes are elements of “flatness,” a concept describing life in the “second dimension” where landscape, technology, and war intermingle and the contrast between human and machine and organic and inorganic are heightened. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Tomas Vu Danial received a BFA from the University of Texas in El Paso and an MFA from Yale University. He has been a professor at Columbia University School of the Arts since 1996, when he helped found the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies and has since served as the Director/Artistic Director of the center. Vu received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002 and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship award in 2001. Vu currently lives and works in New York City.

Chinese artist Yuan Zuo employs the technique of the silhouette in his series Local Politics. His abstract works are skillfully balanced compositions layering laser cut paper shapes, silkscreen, drawing, and collage. Upon closer inspection between the layers, the collages reveal glimpses of subject matter that cannot be openly discussed or depicted in art. Yuan Zuo lives and works in Boston and Dennis, Massachusetts. He studied at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, China, at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and received a B.F.A and M.F.A from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston.

Related programs are planned in conjunction with Contemporary Silhouettes. Artist Fred Liang will give an after-hours gallery talk on The Art of Impermanence, describing his inspirations, history of the art form, and the temporary nature of working in cut paper on Friday, October 20 from 4:30-6:00pm; RSVP required.

A dynamic center for appreciation of the visual arts, the Cahoon Museum is home to a collection of American art with a special focus on regional art of the Northeast and Cape Cod. The museum celebrates the creative spirit of folk artists Ralph and Martha Cahoon through the preservation of their artwork and the historic building which served as their home and studio. The museum presents an ambitious schedule of original exhibitions and programs each year.

The Museum is open six days a week, Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and on Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Admission is $10 general, $8 for seniors and students, and free for museum members and children under 12.

Author: Mashpee Chamber of Commerce

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