Paper Scissors Stone showing at Obsidian Art, 13th – 29th October.

Written by Caryl Beach

On October 11, 2017

Featuring work from two Digswell Alumni, Jo Howe and Mark L’Argent, Paper Scissors Stone will be showing at Obsidian Art, 13th – 29th October.

With very different yet complementary styles of work, a constant theme for each artist is the re-shaping of paper, narrative and meaning. Books, newspaper, paper and other objects or settings are used in combination to re-interpret both the materials and the world around us. A combination of wall-hung and stand-alone pieces deliver a very satisfying experience at every level from detailed examination of the work to the overall sense of expression.

Janie Graham brings discarded books back to life in her intricate yet playful sculptures that just shout craftsmanship and attention to detail.  Communication, meaning and sub-texts are deeply explored by Jo Howe in the fragmented and reworked books or other print media that take on entirely new forms in her capable hands. Through the medium of text, letters and language, Mark L’Argent creates textural word-pictures that evoke mood and atmosphere. Caroline Lumb continues her love of all things paper, including hand-dyed papers, additionally melding these with paintings and other materials.   Language, calligraphic imagery and colour fields, alongside newspaper tapestries form the basis for Hillary Taylor’s drawings and mixed media work. ‘Taking Paper Beyond the Page’ truly is a cohesive collection from these artists.

“I’m very excited to be part of Paper Scissors Stone, especially as new ideas emerge and also seeing how things have come together over our meetings and discussions” says Janie Graham, who creates exacting sculptures around books and found or vintage items.  She continues “I love the challenge of marrying books and their original content or purpose with the forms and new narratives I create, re-purposing previously unwanted objects that become integral components of my work.” Janie’s sought-after pieces are widely seen around the UK.

Jo Howe is well known for her carefully constructed sculptural objects “I select materials by considering the aesthetic quality of text and relevance of the book’s title, working with old manuscripts that bear the physical imperfections and aromas of past human handling and thus retain their human presence.” She adds “ By resisting meaning in purely linguistic terms I invite the reader to respond at an intuitive and emotional level.” Jo’s work is held in collections around the world.

With a classical background in lettering arts, Mark L’Argent runs a busy studio. From this base he creates contemporary works that encompass an individual, original and expressive style: one that plays, engages, and provokes through the medium of text, letters and language.  He explains that “The fundamental nature of my work is about the human condition – emotion, dialogue, responses connections and more,” adding “my work seeks to bring text to life through the visual expression of words and speech.”

Caroline Lumb delights in taking everyday objects or scenes and homing in to create abstracts and patterns. “Textures, colours and form take on different meanings and yet they resonate with their origin.” Says Caroline, who also works with hand-dyed papers and mixed media. She continues “Making things, drawing, painting, taking photographs are an integral part of my life and this particular exploration of paper has extended and reinvigorated a long-held interest in the medium.  I’m thrilled to be working in collaboration with such talented artists and am looking forward to seeing the exhibition up and ready to view.”

Hillary Taylor works in a range of media. An engineering background gave Hillary a life often bounded by processes and calculations. She says “All around me I see everyday items and views that can be simplified, abstracted, built or viewed ‘differently’. Sometimes the end result is a fleeting image that can’t be captured, sometimes the end result ‘just is’. Each final image or object to me is just one of many possibilities, somehow frozen in time.”

When asked about Paper Scissors Stone Hillary also gave this explanation.  “Each of us has directly or indirectly worked with the others over the years.  Sometimes we have worked together in smaller groups but our paths were often more parallel than planned.  In 2014 we started more actively to work together, using specific themes or ideas to challenge our practice and we’re delighted in the outcome that has become Paper Scissors Stone. I have long admired both Jo’s complex use of books to provoke personal responses, Mark’s interpretations of colour and calligraphy, and Janie’s absorbing and symbolic images.  At the same time it extends my longer term collaboration with Caroline Lumb.” she says “There is yet more in the pipeline for our group in 2017 and beyond. It took time to be able to co-ordinate schedules between us, but I can say that it’s a privilege work with this group developing Paper Scissors Stone from initial concept to delivery, now and into the future.”

Work is original and will be available for purchase.

Full details of Paper Scissors Stone, which opens at the Obsidian Art on 13th October 2017 and closes on 29th October 2017, will be available from the Gallery.

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