Slash and Burn: Beautiful Paper Art

Slash and Burn By Amber Bravo

Slash-Paper Under the Knife
Museum of Arts and Design
Review by Amber Bravo

The interior lobby of the new Museum of Art and Design (MAD) looks as if it’s been hit by a tempestuous paper-shredder, as the entire ceiling is consumed by Andrea Mastrovito’s depiction of a storm seizing Christopher Columbus's ship (as well as our attention). Mastrovito’s paper maelstrom is just one of many impressive pieces in the museum’s latest show, Slash: Paper under the Knife, a multifaceted exhibition whose material limitation belies its expansive vision.

Organised by MAD’s chief curator, David Revere McFadden, Slash is the third instalment of the museum’s Materials and Process series, which previously included Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting in 2007 and last year’s Pricked: Extreme Embroidery. As McFadden explains, “Slash showcases artists whose works surprise for their complexity and content, and not just for their technical virtuosity”–although almost all of the works exhibit some level of virtuosity, whether it be Andrew Scott Ross’s elaborate mural/vignette Stones & Rocks & Bones, which suggests the scale and breadth of human ingenuity and destruction, or Olafur Eliasson’s Your House, which diagrams a house in section encased in a book. Ross’s sweeping, gestural strokes give way to painstakingly detailed silhouettes, whereas Eliasson’s concept (the book itself was designed by Michael Heinman) calls for architectural rigour with its precisely drawn and cut sections.


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