Couturier Gallery is pleased to present “Paper Works,” an exhibition of collage and paper works by three Los Angeles area artists: Echiko Ohira, Maritta Tapanainen and Alan Valencia. The thirty works in the show reveal distinct approaches to a deceptively difficult medium to master, including works of pure paper on paper and paper and organic material on paper. The opening reception for the artists will be Saturday, January 15, 2011 (from 5-8pm). The exhibition will continue through February 19.
Collage is the common bond of the three artists in “Paper Works” though treat the form in distinct ways. Collage (from the French “coller,” meaning to stick or glue) requires an exquisite eye and hand to master. The origin of collage is often attributed to the 20th century masters Picasso and Braque who, like others who shortly followed (among them Matisse and Schwitters) transformed appropriated materials into new transcendent imagery. Echiko Ohira transforms her collaged paper on paper works with the additional use of pigment from sources such as tea and mineral pigments. Both Maritta Tapanainen and Alan Valencia prefer using pre-printed paper materials as their collage source without additional surface treatments.
The collage works of Maritta Tapanainen (born in Finland) take the medium into another realm crossing the line between appropriation and drawing. Tapanainen’s visual images are entirely composed of “lines” and forms meticulously cut from illustrated pages of old technological and mechanical manuals and constructs highly energized microcosmic worlds of plants, animals and the heavens above placed on a carefully collaged monochromatic mosaic background of cut paper. The precisely cut lines are laid down and glued rendering it difficult to ascertain whether the image is constructed of pre-printed materials and not actually drawn with ink or graphite. Maritta Tapanainen has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Japan. Her work is found in numerous private collections as well as the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, MA.
Echiko Ohira’s (born in Tokyo) collages include materials other than simply paper, such as cloth, dried plants, tea and acrylic pigment. Her delicate, intimate collages are constructed of tea-stained pieces of paper laid on paper on which are placed fragile pieces of plants presented to appear as if a blow up view through the lens of a microscope. Ohira’s larger bolder collages of spiral or radial forms created by laying down cotton thread on paper stained with tea or pigmented with a single solid color of acrylic create glorious floral patterns. They can be found in various collections including the East and West Cultural Center collection in Tokyo, Japan and The Urawa City hall in Saitama, Japan.
The carefully ordered geometrical arrangements of paper in Alan Valencia’s (born in the Philippines) collage boxes makes them at once appear as elegant architectural floor plans, albeit with subtle color and texture, or reminiscent of Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park abstractions reduced in both size and color tones. Valencia constructs each collage in a very shallow box whose edges are also collaged giving the impression that we are looking at a window giving view to miriad vistas. Alan’s work can be found in private collections in the United States and Japan as well as at the Fresno Art Museum and the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii.
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