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I was introduced to the Japanese art of chigiri-e about twenty years ago after seeing small collages made of rice and washi papers at a colleague’s home. I was instantly drawn to them.
I like the idea of working with paper. Paper is organic. It lives and breathes. It tells me, during the process of tearing and pasting, where it wants to live on the canvas and what it wants to be. At times it is frustratingly thin, temperamental and shy – at other times, bold, thick and unbending – but there is always a unique dimension that it brings to my vision, a dimension that paints or pencil simply cannot.
I have recently incorporated torn newsprint and newspaper photo into the classic Japanese papers, deconstructing and then reconstructing them in ways very alien to the original intent and meaning. There is a definite energy that releases during the process of tearing and shredding the paper, which dictates its ultimate rearrangement onto the canvas. I want the viewer to feel this energy, to put their hand on the surface of the piece and feel the paper breathe along with them - to be able, without even looking, to know the story that is being told.
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