If paper could drip, or grow, or undulate as though alive, it might behave just as it does in the exhibition “Cutting Edges.” Artists Aimée Beaubien and Fred H. C. Liang use it to create the lyrical sculptures and installations that currently inhabit the Pitch Project Gallery like a fragile garden.
Liang’s works are inspired by Chinese paper cutting traditions in which delicate, intensely detailed pieces are formed by the judicious use of a knife. In his monumental installations, web-like forms tenuously cling together or fan out in shapes like a rich brocade. One example, crafted from subtly shimmering gold paper, hangs from the ceiling by nearly invisible line. Snips and bits cover the floor beneath as though the sculpture has shed its excess to achieve a weightless buoyancy.
Beaubien takes photography as a starting point by using pictures she has shot herself. These are then cut into strips and then woven, twisted or otherwise worked into her sizable installations. They convey an undeniably organic quality through their forms and rich hues of green. These notes are emphasized by the insertion of printed plants in some, and the topiary forms that others take. Beaubien says that it is significant that they begin as representations of the real world. Yet, with her alternations and juxtapositions, they undergo a metamorphosis and ultimately become something quite different. Some are neatly organized atop pedestals, others cascade from the ceiling into pools of purple light, decorated by large cutouts of leaves that bring us closer to imaginative nature in the gallery space.
These artists are distinct enough to avoid confusion as to who is to be credited with which works, due to the pleasant absence of wall text. Through their creative materials and forms they complement each other delightfully. The significance of tradition rings clearly in Liang’s practice, though his pieces are purely abstract and twisting. Beaubien’s art is prompted by life experience, tilled into the creative soil of her lively sculptures. Most of all, both artists reveal a keen genius for the transformation of flat paper into three luscious dimensions.
Through May 6 at The Pitch Project, 706 S. Fifth St.