June 11, 2016 – November 6, 2017
Paper: A substance composed of fibres interlaced into a compact web, made (usually in the form of a thin flexible sheet, most commonly white) from various fibrous materials, as linen and cotton rags, straw, wood, certain grasses, etc., which are macerated into a pulp, dried and pressed (and subjected to various other processes, as bleaching, colouring, sizing, etc., according to the intended use); it is used (in various forms and qualities) for writing, printing, or drawing on, for wrapping things in, for covering the interior of walls and for other purposes. — Oxford English Dictionary
Since the invention of paper in China during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), artists have used it as a medium to express their ideas. It quickly replaced vellum, papyrus, palm leaves and parchment as an economical and readily available medium for recording images and text. It revolutionized the transfer of information, and has been used to create sacred ritual objects in cultures throughout the world. Even in today’s digital environment, paper maintains its presence as a beautiful physical medium, and to some artists, occupies an almost spiritual role as a vehicle for inspiration.
Works on paper are by nature light-sensitive and susceptible to the environment. For that reason, these works in museum collections are often kept in the dark, and only displayed for short periods of time. This exhibition brings many of the masterful works on paper from the Ogden Museum’s permanent collection out of the dark, climate-controlled drawers of the vault, and into the light of exhibition, often for the first time.
Ranging from historic drawings to contemporary papier-mâché, /’pāpər/ will showcase the diversity and depth of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s collection of paper works. This exhibition also celebrates the diverse ways in which Southern artists have approached their medium. Works on paper are not necessarily preliminary studies for paintings or sculptures (although some definitely play that role), but are finished works of art, each with a unique character expressed through the hand of the artist, translated through the medium itself. These artists have manipulated the material through cutting, painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, book arts and sculpting. Through this broad survey of processes and artists, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art will offer the public a chance to explore the vast possibilities for expression contained within the seemingly simple medium of paper.
This exhibition includes work by Robert Rauschenberg, Benny Andrews, Ellsworth Woodward, John McCrady, John T. Scott, Dusti Bongé, George Dureau, Caroline Durieux, Michael Meads, Jules Pascin, Gregory Saunders, Seymour Fogel, John Alexander, Minnie Evans, Clementine Hunter, Walter Anderson, William Dunlap, Andrew Bucci, Enrique Alferez, Fritz Bultman, William Hollingsworth, Noel Rockmore, James Surls, Hudson Marquez, George Biddle and others.
Selections from the exhibition