This exhibition is about the discursive ways that artists approach paper as a medium, technology, and tool. Hand papermaking is a process that begins with the raw material of pulp and ends in sculpture, mixed media, and installation. To that end, this exhibition asks us to consider the utility of paper at the site of interdisciplinary contemporary arts and crafts. Elevating the primary role of handmade paper as a conceptual and formal “supporting partner” in contemporary art itself, Material Assumptions points to the versatility, nuance and subtlety of handmade paper as medium.
For the exhibition, we have asked contemporary artists to create new work using abaca and cotton paper handmade at the Center for Book and Paper Arts by graduate students. In doing so, we are prompting a conversation concerning not only the paper itself, but each artists' own creative processes and studio practices: does a new material complicate the artist’s way of making, thinking or working? The resulting works will exemplify broader tendencies in that artist’s oeuvre, as each project will be crafted out of handmade paper produced specifically for the artist. A second part of the exhibition features works created by artists in-residence at Dieu Donné, a New York-based non-profit artist workspace dedicated to the creation, promotion and preservation of contemporary art in the hand papermaking process.