Cut Up/Cut Out
Huntsville Museum of Art
November 19, 2017 – February 11, 2018
Curator: Carrie Lederer
The art of cutting paper dates back thousands of years, with early artworks coming from 6th century China. Originally a decorative handcraft for women, Chinese paper-cutting eventually expanded into rural areas, becoming a staple at religious ceremonies and festivals. By the 14th century, paper-cutting spread to the rest of the world bringing in a new wave of folk art traditions. Cut Up/Cut Out honors both innovation and tradition with a selection of over 50 artists representing diverse styles and techniques by taking a contemporary view of an ancient art practice that has evolved over thousands of years.
Cut Up/Cut Out is an exhibition of local, national and international artists who explore the captivating methods of decorative piercing and cutting, using a wide range of media from paper and plastic to metal and rubber. The transformative nature of cutting into and through a surface provides endless possibilities for converting the material from opaque to transparent, from flat to sculptural, from rigid to delicate, and from ordinary to exquisite. The process and precision required for this method of art-making is laborious, technically demanding and always astonishing.
Visually diverse, the artworks in Cut Up/Cut Out range in size from an intimate three inches to sprawling and complex installations, and they represent an abundance of conceptual ideas. The artists address our relationship with nature and environmental issues, personal and political narratives, architecture, fantasy, and abstract or formal ideas—with many intersections.
This show features several large scale installations including: Margaret Griffith’s Coringa, a hand-cut, 12 foot long paper artwork that cascades from the ceiling, Adriane Colburn’s expansive multimedia piece Forest for the Trees, and a site–specific, interactive installation by Los Angeles artist Rebecca Niederlander. Cut Up/Cut Out also includes a group of artists who are drawn to cutting into unique or unusual materials such as tires, oil drums, and leaves.
The curator of this exhibition, Carrie Lederer, was inspired by Bay Area artist, Irene Pijoan’s (1953-2004) groundbreaking large-scale cut paper artwork and has dedicated Cut Up/Cut Out to her memory. Cut Up/Cut Out is a traveling exhibition that was organized by the Bedford Gallery and will travel nationally through 2020.