Works on Paper from AMA’s Collection
Curated by Marco Polo Juarez Cruz, PhD Student, Art History and Archeology, University of Maryland, College Park
The Papermakers on Facebook.
Paper embodies a medium and an end. From its ancient origins in the bast fibers of the Chinese paper mulberries, a blank surface in distinct formats has accompanied humankind through the processes of writing, drawing, and painting. Papermaking entails the chemical and mechanical processes to transform pulpwood and other fiber sources by diluting, pressing, drying, and cutting into a material of quasi-universal use. Today, manual and industrial methods to produce paper coexist, diversifying its legal, artistic, and ludic purposes.
This exhibition compiles thirty works on paper from the Art Museum of the Americas collection that exemplify the diversity of a primary medium for the artistic creation, rooted in the region by the pre-Hispanic amate paper made in Mexico and Central America. As the space to pour the starting ideas of a draft or a sketch, artists from the Americas took advantage of its shifting nature, returning to the white surface to experiment with techniques centered in the use of paper. Their professionalization in the use of engraving, pastel, gouache, and watercolor transformed the medium’s nature, granting them an experimental space of a simultaneous ephemeral and permanent character. The reproducibility of paper favored the introduction of lithographs and silkscreens into American museums’ collections by the sponsorship of cultural institutions and the private sector.
‘The Papermakers’ brings together works from artists that expanded the medium’s fundamental conceptions as a preliminary stage to sketch the ideas before the canvas. The chosen artworks are divided into three categories. The first section reunites the artists that challenged the medium’s boundaries by using innovative techniques and modernist tools. A second group praises the technical aptitudes of the artist as a draftsman. The last section’s artworks show the local dialog with regional traditions and folklore as inspiration to the Americas’ modernist artist. By registering the material evidence of its artistic creativity –in the traces of the acid corrosion, the wood gouges, and the pencil– the paper assembles fragments of cultural memory preserved in the Art Museum of the Americas’ collection. Composed by over 1100 works on paper from artists across the continent, this vast archival conjunct serves as a testimonial source of artistic proficiency, experimentation, and cultural diversity.
List of artists:
Maria Luisa Pacheco
Pablo A. Burchard
Eduardo Ramirez Villamizar
Jose Luis Cuevas