The first exhibition of 2017-18 academic year at St. Lawrence University's Richard F. Brush Art Gallery will feature a collection of handmade paper through Oct. 8. The gallery will also hold a “meet the artists” reception on Monday, Sept. 4.
While making paper by hand dates back to first-century China, the practice has only been used as a form of artistic expression for the past century. Dard Hunter is considered a leading 20th-century authority on the craft of handmade paper after his publication Old Papermaking (1923) and Papermaking by Hand in America (1950). Hand papermaking in the United States gained further popularity in the 1960s and 1970s through the establishment of small-scale paper mills such as Twinrocker and Dieu Donné as well as papermaking studios at colleges and universities.
Inspired by Hunter’s legacy and more recent artists, Drew Matott co-founded two ongoing projects, Combat Paper in 2007 and Peace Paper in 2011.
Combat Paper uses papermaking as a way for U.S. veterans to share their personal stories through pulping their military uniforms. Since its inception, thousands of veterans have participated in the project, and four permanent studios have been established across the country.
Peace Paper is a collaboration among artists, activists, and therapists who use traditional hand papermaking as a form of art therapy, social advocacy, and creative expression. The project has worked with over twenty thousand individuals and has established forty collaborating studios from the United Kingdom to Poland, Turkey, Iran and Ukraine.
Artist and co-founder of St. Pauli Paper, the European base of Peace Paper in Hamburg, Germany, Jana Schumacher focuses on using handmade paper in her own drawings and site-specific installations. She also leads workshops at low-income schools and refugee centers in the region.
Matott and Schumacher invited 11 fine artists from Hamburg to work with handmade paper for the first time to explore its creative potential. The Brush Art Gallery exhibit, titled "Turn the Page, Sing a Line, Form a Sheet Hand Papermaking for Artistic Expression and Social Justice," will feature their artwork along works created through Combat Paper and the Peace Paper Project as well as pieces selected from St. Lawrence University’s permanent collection.
There will be an artist reception from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4, at the art gallery. One of the artists in the paper rmaking exhibition, Ben Aleshire, will also read a poem for a Poetry for Peace event.
The Brush Art Gallery is open Monday through Thursday from noon to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 315-229-5174 or visit www.stlawu.edu/gallery.