What You Need to Know: Indianapolis’s Long-Sharp Gallery has unveiled “Front Page,” a 14-artist group show featuring both emerging and established names from across four continents. The conceit? All the artworks shown are produced “with, in, or on paper” using a wide range of methods, including collage, chine collé, graphite or watercolor on paper, and even paper-based sculptures. “Front Page” is the first exhibition held by Long-Sharp Gallery dedicated to the medium, and the artist list draws from both the gallery’s roster and invitees. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated e-catalogue containing profiles of each of the included artists.
Why We Like It: Paper as a medium has often been thought of as “less than” other canonic modes of fine art, such as oil on canvas or bronze or marble sculpture. Many exhibitions relegate works on paper to supporting roles as illustrations of artists’ preparations for more “serious” works. In this exhibition, however, the creative, interpretive, and sometimes even surprising ways that artists employ paper explodes any preconceived notions that viewers might have about the medium’s boundaries or limitations. What’s more, the works shown here capitalize on the medium’s inherent qualities to deepen their thematic intentions: for example, Mary Evans’s (2013), part of their “Mirror Image” series, draws inspiration from traditional cut-paper portrait silhouettes, but instead of the expected European profile, the work portrays an African one. Speaking on the series, Evans said, “When working with paper, I often marvel at its durability and delicacy, which is reminiscent of the tenacity and vulnerability of African peoples and all that they have endured.”
According to the Gallery: “The words ‘front’ and ‘page,’ when placed together in that order, signal that something important is afoot. ‘Front page’ historically referred to the lead story in a printed newspaper. Paper was thus the vehicle to convey the most significant events happening in the moment. Through this exhibition we highlighted the sensational work being created across the globe in the paper medium. And we announce ‘above the fold’ that paper is every bit a medium of fine art as any other. No longer is paper’s use a means of sketching an idea or a vehicle for preparatory work for a grander project. No longer is paper relegated to page six.”—Rhonda Long-Sharp, owner
See more works from the exhibition below.