In the ever changing digital world paper is becoming more and more dismissible in our daily lives. We discard it regularly without consideration. Everyday items like tickets, letters, cards, maps, and post-it notes have become kitsch. As an artistic substrate paper has reverent history which dates back to 2nd century BC China. In fact, even paper makers are considered artists and a good quality paper can last for over 1,000 years. The often misunderstood medium remains a main stay in the modern artist arsenal for many reasons. This December Paseo Originals Art Gallery is paying homage to paper and its presence in contemporary art with the exhibit “Paper, Trinkets, Baubles and Things” featuring mixed media collage by Kate Rivers and Chinese style paper sculpture by Francene Levinson.
Born in Youngstown, Ohio Kate Rivers earned her BFA degree from the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio funded by the Ford Foundation and a full scholarship from CCAD. After traveling and teaching she attended The University of South Carolina in Columbia receiving a fellowship and a teaching assistantship in order to earn an MFA degree in printmaking and painting. Since that time she has been exhibiting her work and teaching at the university level. In 2009 she was awarded the Oklahoma Fellowship for the Arts by Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition accenting her growing list of accolades and awards. Referring to her work the artist emphasizes, "My current work represents an investigation of memory, metaphor and the spaces of home, and travel. Fragments of maps, notes, canceled stamps, old books, and other found materials are collaged into my work, woven as a bird weaves and constructs a home. Home and space become synonymous with memory, loss and nostalgia. The idea of the map becomes likewise linked to the body through the division of the individual within land and spaces. Both represent a type of resistance and a search for ownership of self, separate and unique from the deluge of images within our culture." Accordingly, her artworks capture the essence of a moment through her visual autobiography. From a distance lines create organic sweeping linear movement knotted and kindled before trailing lonesome from the focal center creating a perfect balance between positive and negative space. Observed more closely the compositions take on the complexity of a chaotic puzzle where literary fragments and time stamps dance seamlessly creating mystery which attracts the mind as equally as the eye.
Presently residing in Boca Raton, FL, Francene Levinson's earliest exhibitions were curated on the counter tops of her mother's kitchen instilling the artistic motivation which drove her to academia. Her mother's invaluable patronage carried her to Brooklyn College, N.Y.C. where she obtained her B.A. Fine Arts in 1966 and a M.A. Art Ed. in 1969. While her art instructors had significant influence on her love of color, form, and design, it was her passion for sharing art that brought her to teaching at the middle school level. She proudly proclaims, “These art students were my greatest teachers.” Adding, “Many of my Florida students were new to our country, and shared their own cultural artistic experiences. The discovery of Chinese Zhe Zhi modular paper folding was a cultural experience taught to me by one of my art students. Working in this unique paper medium allows me to create my own geometric beauty and give a singular voice to the unity of many.” She is a member and former VP of WITVA(Women in the Visual Arts), a Juried Signature Member of the member of the Boca Raton Museum of Art Artists Guild and a member of the International Sculpture Center. Knowledge of paper making and the technique of folding it to create forms was spread throughout Asia by Buddhist monks performing their rituals and ceremonies. The Japanese people fell in love with paper making when the Buddhist Monks arrived in Japan around 750 C.E. Eventually, the art of paper folding became world famous as Japanese Origami. The original Chinese paper folding technique Levinson uses is called Zhe Zhi and is modular in nature. Since she uses it as a fine art sculptural medium, a single sculpture may contain as many as 3500 pieces of paper. Her masterful technique allows her to take the delicate paper medium and forge ridged bodies which rise from complex structure to create organic forms that gesture influences of plants, birds and sea life without forcing objectivity on the viewer.
Paseo Originals Art Gallery will debut new works from Kate Rivers and Francene Levinson at the opening reception of “Paper, Trinkets, Baubles and Things” on December the 7th from 6:00-10:00 pm during the First Friday Artwalk on Paseo. During the evening reception Urban Wine Works will be pouring libations at the bar top, and light hors d'oeuvres will be served. The following day, Saturday, December 8th at 1:00 pm the gallery will host a short artist talk where Rivers and Levinson will give a short presentation canvasing their creative process and biographical history followed by a question and answer session. Light refreshments will be served during the artist talk. The exhibit will culminate during the Cocktail Closing Reception to be held on Friday, December 28th from 6:30-9:00 pm. During the closing reception cocktails will be served. The exhibit “Paper, Trinkets, Baubles and Things” is set to run from December 5th through December 30th. No admission is charged for admittance to the gallery and all associated events are free and open to the public. Paseo Originals Art Gallery is a private fine art gallery located in the Historic Paseo Arts District at the south end of Paseo Creek and has been voted the Best Local Art Gallery by the citizens of Oklahoma City. Focusing on an eclectic collection of contemporary fine art, fine craft Americana, new media, furniture, handcrafted jewelry, and small and large scale sculpture, the gallery represents established, mid-career and emerging artists of exceptional caliber. With one of the largest spaces in the Paseo District, the gallery hosts monthly exhibits defined in three gallery exhibit spaces featuring both national and international artists who exemplify the unique characteristics of a collectable fine artist. Featuring bold, ingenuitive and technically evolved artworks, Paseo Originals is dedicated to the beginning and established collector. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 am – 6 pm, Saturday from 11 am – 5 pm and Sunday from 1 pm – 5 pm. Paseo Originals Art Gallery is located at 2920 Paseo Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73103. For more information on gallery events please visit the Paseo Originals website at www.PaseoOriginals.com.