Paper Masterpieces on Display in Greater Reston Arts Center’s ‘CUT’

Most of us remember being young, making artwork out of nothing more than paper and scissors.

Now through February at Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), though, you can see the works of artists who continue to take cutting paper very seriously — and do so with dazzling and awe-inspiring results.

“CUT” is the final exhibition in a series of three shows at GRACE that have showcased artwork made from materials more associated with domestic crafting. It follows 2014’s STITCH and 2015’s BEAD.

The exhibit, which opened last month, features of the work of six artists who are distinct in their uses of the medium: Ed Bisese, Maelle Doliveux, Bhavna Mehta, Beverly Ress, Leslie Shellow and Eric Standley.

“I think one of the things that’s really great about this idea is you’re taking this very specific, pretty simple beginning,” said Erica Harrison, GRACE associate curator. “Each [artist] is pulling from that tradition in a different way.”

Harrison said the works have three major themes: ecological concern, observations of everyday life and a “broader sense of spirituality.”

“I think there’s a little bit of ‘something else is out there,’ and they’re trying to reach that,” she said.

The exhibit contains a multi-faceted piece by Mehta that is suspended from paper “pipes” hanging from the gallery ceiling. Harrison said the work, entitled “GUSH,” tells the story of a community emerging from a five-year drought. Among its features are representations of water, leaves and flowers.

Another of the larger pieces is Standley’s “Daphne,” a 17-foot sculpture that incorporates intricately cut paper into the top of a fallen tree. Harrison said the piece, originally commissioned for the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, was inspired by the Greek mythological tale of Apollo and Daphne.

“Eric was really drawn to that story,” she said. “He wanted to give tribute to Daphne’s story.”

Other pieces include two cartoonish collages created specifically for the exhibit by Bisese; stop-motion illustrations by Doliveux; observations of water-based ecosystems by Shellow; and spiraling pieces by Ress that study life and its cycles.

The next exhibitions at GRACE will be in celebration of Youth Art Month. Works of area elementary school students will be displayed first, followed by a showcase of the work of area high schoolers.

Greater Reston Arts Center is located at 12001 Market St., Suite 103, in Reston Town Center. The gallery is typically open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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