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Berkshire Museum presents "PaperWorks: The Art and Science of an Extraordinary Material"
Installation view.

PITTSFIELD, MASS.- Berkshire Museum presents PaperWorks: The Art and Science of an Extraordinary Material, a new exhibition that explores paper as a source of creative inspiration and innovation. PaperWorks features compelling contemporary works of art by more than 35 artists, all made from paper, as well as an array of objects and artifacts that show the uses of paper in industry, science, fashion, and technology. PaperWorks will be on view through October 26, 2013.

The exhibition is part of the year-long recognition of the Museum’s 110th anniversary. Berkshire Museum was founded by Zenas Crane, a third-generation papermaker whose descendants are still making fine paper in the Berkshires. In fact, the portion of the exhibition that explores the history of paper around the world includes objects loaned by the Crane Museum of Papermaking.

“In the midst of our 110th anniversary year, PaperWorks is the perfect embodiment of Berkshire Museum’s legacy and promise,” says Van Shields, Berkshire Museum’s executive director. “It celebrates our founder Zenas Crane’s heritage in paper making that continues to be a key industry in the Berkshires, while highlighting our innovative approach to exhibitions designed to explore connections among art, history, and natural science. At its center is a fabulous array of contemporary art works created by some of the nation’s most innovative artists working with paper today.”

“Paper, albeit a commonplace material, can be manipulated in endless ways,” says Maria Mingalone, curator of the exhibition and Berkshire Museum’s director of interpretation. “There are no limits on innovation or creativity when working with this malleable, even magical, material. It can be used to express beauty as well as complex scientific concepts, as a means of communication and record-keeping and as part of the most advanced new technologies.”

The ways paper can be part of art-making are endless: it can be folded and twisted; it can be pierced or cut; it can be pulped and molded. Paper can be used as commonplace wrapping or packaging or as a green material in sustainable design; it can be engineered for use in exacting technology or hand-crafted into a rustic journal. PaperWorks includes delicate origami pieces, large-scale sculptures, re-purposed books, cut-paper animation, works in vivid color or pure white, with every object telling a story.

Among the numerous artists represented in PaperWorks are sculptors, engineers, architects, and designers who manipulate, transform, and re-invent paper. Dai Ban is a Berkshire-based sculptor who recently completed a major commission for Crane & Co., utilizing a paper-like material to create a massive wall installation. Ban created new works specifically for the Paperworks exhibition.

Erik Demaine is a mathematician and professor at MIT who uses paper folding to explain complex mathematical concepts; he is featured in the documentary film “Between the Folds” about the art and science of origami. Martin Demaine, Erik’s father, is an artist-in-residence at MIT and was also in the film. Together, they create complex “curved crease” structures from paper. Michigan-based artist Matthew Shlian describes himself as a paper engineer; he uses his engineering skills to create kinetic sculpture from folded paper and is part of a National Science Foundation-funded project at the University of Michigan uniting artists and scientists for cutting-edge nano-technology applications.

Artist Jen Stark is a Florida native who shows her work across the U.S. She specializes in hand-cut paper sculptures in vivid color, often inspired by microscopic patterns in nature enlarged and amplified. Li Hongbo, who lives and works in Beijing, makes astonishing flexible, expanding figurative sculptures from thousands of meticulously glued sheets of paper.

Calvin Nicholls transforms cut paper into astonishingly realistic animal forms, imbued with energy and depth. French artist Béatrice Coron, now based in New York City, creates compelling narratives in exquisitely cut paper. Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Getty in Los Angeles.

The exhibition includes cut-paper animation videos by award-winning artist Michel Ocelot as well as video works by Michael Crozier, Steven Briand, Zhe Zhang, and Simon Griesser of Salon Alpin.

The other participating artists are Hina Aoyama, Jaq Belcher, Doug Beube, Brian Chan, Andrea Dezsö, Brian Dettmer, Eric Drury, Nick Georgiou, David Graas, Dylan Graham, Tina Hovsepian, Samantha Huang, Paul Jackson, Michael LaFosse, Guy Laramee, James A. Meyer, Yoshinobu Miyamoto, Daniel Murphy, Michele Oka Doner, Isaac Salazar, Kiff Slemmons, Richard Sweeney, Annie Vought, Thomas Witte, and Ian Wright.

In addition, unique and surprising objects made from paper include a nineteenth-century paper boat, paper dresses from the 1970s, exquisite Asian fans, cut-paper Aztec icons, jewelry, lighting, and furniture. Examples of unique and specialty papers have been provided by Onyx Specialty Papers and Potsdam Specialty Paper.

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Berkshire Museum presents "PaperWorks: The Art and Science of an Extraordinary Material"

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