Against the Ream: An Expansive Exhibition Invites Thirteen Artists to Explore the Vast ‘Possibilities of Paper’

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Charles Clary, “Memento Morididdle” (2023), hand-cut paper and found frames, 96 x 240 inches. All images courtesy of the artists and the Torggler Fine Arts Center, © the artists, shared with permission

From intricate, laser-cut tendrils to vibrantly patterned collages, a new exhibition at The Torggler in Newport News, Virginia, explores the vast potential of a conventionally utilitarian material. Possibilities of Paper brings together thirteen artists from around the U.S. and Canada who have developed practices centered around experimentation and precision, employing a diverse range of techniques and styles that transform an everyday medium into elaborate works of art.

Wall works, freestanding sculptures, and large-scale installations comprise the comprehensive look at paper-based art being made today, including a monumental piece by Michael Velliquette suspended from the ceiling, Samuelle Green’s immersive sphere made of thousands of petals, and Roberto Benavidez’s piñatas inspired by the frenzied characters of Hieronymus Bosch. Many of the artists begin their compositions using pristine, new sheets of paper, while others reinterpret objects like books, maps, and paper plates into woven or carved forms. You might also recognize work from Myriam Dion, Matthew Shlian, and Eric Standley, among others.

Possibilities of Paper continues at The Torggler through October 15, and you can learn more on the gallery’s website.


Jaq Belcher, “All in Good Time” (2023), hand-cut paper, dimensions variable. Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum/JHB Gallery

Left: Detail of Charles Clary’s “Memento Morididdle” (2023). Right: Roberto Benavidez, “Bosch Beast No. 4” (2017), paper, paperboard, glue, crepe paper, and wire, 36 x 22 x 12 inches

Michael Velliquette, “Deva Realms” (2023), 90 hanging forms of Bristol paper and string, approx. 1,500 components, dimensions variable

Samuelle Green, “Marshmallow Polypore II” (2023), paper, wire, glue, and wood, dimensions variable

Detail of Samuelle Green’s “Marshmallow Polypore II” (2023)

Detail of Charles Clary’s “Memento Morididdle” (2023)

Eric Standley, “Drift” (2022), 48 compositions of laser-cut paper and 23k gold leaf, 12 x 9 x 1.5 inches each

Left: Detail of Eric Standley’s “Drift” (2022). Right: Detail of Eric Standley’s “Llull” (2020), laser-cut paper, wood, and 23k gold leaf, 48 x 16 x 5 inches

Foreground: Elizabeth Alexander, “Welder’s Daughter: The Waiting Room” (2020), iron filings from parents’ steel work, rust made with filings, graphite, face shield, paper, cast paper, and wood, 144 x 120 x 40 inches. Background: Charles Clary, “Memento Morididdle” (2023)

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