Saturday, September 1, 2007

Shapeshifting Paper

Jeanne Petrosky "Lines"

I spent yesterday at the Long's Park Art & Craft Festival in Lancaster, PA--this is an amazing show! The photo above is
Jeanne Petrosky's handmade paper sculpture "Lines." She works in conjunction with her husband Dennis Guzenski, who is expert in faux effects. Much of the sculpture looks like stone but must feel like a feather.

I felt like I was at a museum rather than a place to buy things, much intense talent to absorb. And over and over I was drawn to the really big pieces. This one by Hetty and Norman Metzger is made entirely of paper, in three dimensional units fitting together like tiles. It took up much of one wall:

I remember reading an article by an interior decorator who said many people have a surplus of "smalls" in their houses, often born of an internal set-point of what costs "too much," and so they accumulate many little things, rather than tolerating the unease of buying larger pieces. It seems irreponsible, or dangerous or ill advised to gather up all those smaller sums and get something spectacular. Not that my smaller sums would add to that much at this point. . .There wasn't much in the middle at this show--either a large footprint or a tiny one like a souvenir of the larger one, and seeming forlorn, separated from the source.

I am grateful for public art, for the presence of murals and mosaics through the Mural Arts program in Philadelphia, for visions that take up entire walls and sides of houses, and engage young people who are on the verge of disconnecting from the potential of beauty in the painful chaos of their lives. There is something within us that sometimes needs expansive expression, a scale out of the ordinary.

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