Doug Stapleton, Associate Curator of Art, Illinois State Museum
This was a challenging selection process as the unifying theme--50% or more of the piece was to be made of paper--left lots of room for interpretation. I tried as best as possible to use both a critical eye towards excellence of expression and material handling, as well as find a good balance among a variety of mediums and a range of aesthetic approaches.
Artists know that paper offers qualities of light reflection, tooth, texture, and absorbency different say than canvas or wood, and that decision to use paper is integral to the final piece. I could not then ignore the traditional use of paper as a support in my jurying process since I would be disregarding a long-standing aesthetic relationship between maker and material. There are some powerful and beautiful works submitted that owe their presence to their paper substrate. Paper also has both resiliency and malleability, allowing artists to shape, cut, fold, mold, and tear in interesting ways. I selected several examples of works that take advantage of papers physicality to make structures that balance strength and delicacy. Finally, several artists that I selected exploit paper's history as a carrier of mass-media content--books, advertising, newspapers, photographs--and work with these found printed sources towards bold, graphic expressions.
There were so many outstanding submissions to this call and the breadth of interpretation of the theme made for a challenging job of winnowing down to the final selection of participants. The final selection represents, I think, the best of the works of paper or made on paper submitted. Congratulations to all who were selected.