First Garden City Heritage Museum 2008 - "Paper,Scissors,Stone"
Architectural paper cuts exhibition by Vanessa Stone
This exhibition of architectural paper cuts marks a turning point in my work. I had been cutting paper since early 2007 after at least six months or so of experimenting with stencils and just making paintings. The first paper cuts I did were essentially white line cuts, very similar in feel to Eric Gill’s nudes. His are sublimely elegant of course and I wanted to capture a similar line, a sparseness and perfection. My nude back comes the closest in a way I think, but I bow to Gill – his are masterful!
There is a darker side to his though, they aren’t as simple as they appear, especially when you think about who the sitters are and when you take into account Gill’s nature – this is brilliantly explored in Fiona McCarthy's book about Eric Gill.Back in 2007 I had cut bodies and poems and very slowly my own voice started to emerge. It was tentative. I hung onto making paintings too, trying to keep one foot in both camps of being a painter and a paper cutter. However, you can’t keep a foot in two floating boats! Something had to give; I needed to commit to one thing only and not try to be all things to all men. So I waved a sort of goodbye to painting and textiles. I don’t think its forever, maybe just an au revoir.
A breakthrough came with making a great big paper cut of the Town Hall
in Letchworth. It’s a great building, set on its own. It’s the epitome of toy town in its shape, like the wooden blocks you have as a kid to make a wooden town. Look across at the Town Hall from The Grammar School and Letchworth looks exactly like Toy Town. People scaled, modest, not overly decorative or puffed up, that’s Letchworth architecturally all over.
With the Town Hall cut finished and a photo emailed to Josh Tidy, Curator at First Garden City Heritage Museum He loved it, hadn’t seen anything like it before and so we started to talk about the possibility of an exhibition of architectural paper cuts. A few meetings later and the ball was rolling nicely, an exhibition was planned for Sept/Oct 2008. This was a fair leap of faith for the museum. It isn’t a commercial gallery or a large museum and they hadn’t had a show like this before, so taking a chance on an artist that cuts into paper was a bold step. I will be eternally grateful. When the work was all done and up it was fantastic to see – so many of my cuts together and not just framed but hanging free too.
And so there it was a tangible big step forward into the unknown and falling in love all over again with architecture.
And so in the next posting here, is the work... some of my paper cuts of Letchworth Garden City. You can get to see the exhibition on line just click here.