By Nina J P Evans

Friday, October 03, 2014

Birds I've Been

After considering the personal and collective thoughts, in the book titled Working On My #Novel, I decided Maude White’s exquisitely beautiful hand carved paper art would be perfect to showcase. She explains the concept behind her artworks as follows: “Birds I’ve Been is a new series of cut paper art that examines both women and birds; as observers witnessing the intimacy and action of others, and as participants experiencing and processing events.”

Firstly, I find it interesting that the method of hand carved paper craft sounds softer and more human, perhaps to laser-cut paper art, though I should think with using either method that there are pros and cons. The paper cut pieces suggestively look more animated than static images, perhaps it’s the compositional positioning of key elements. Reminiscent to me of Lotte Reiner’s magical silhouette puppetry of tales such as Hansel and Gretel (a short film made in 1955 that used paper cut silhouettes that could be animated by a series of jointed points). There are a few pieces that are suggestively much deeper than the fragile paper cut surface quality; what are the actions of others the artist mentions in her statement? Furthermore… the designed motifs illustrate a different species of bird in each piece (the bird species takes on a symbolic reference with each individual piece), juxtaposed with other storytelling elements, like the wind whipping up a storm, the woman’s hair unravelling into a woven ball, and the swan with his wings out stretched whilst the woman's sitting in a despairing pose.

The consideration of choosing the framing of the pieces is interesting too. As the paper cut birds are suspended in glass frames the detail becomes very subtle and mysterious with no added background as an offset. The mounted pieces with white paper on a dark inky background are slightly reminiscence of the traditional silhouette portraits from the 18th and 19th centuries; but in reverse! There’s something very complete and pure about the subject matter when it’s depicted in white, white can also mean kindness. Please visit the link at the bottom of the page to see more pieces and further details of her current exhibition in New York via her personal website.

Maude White: Paper Carving Artist

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