Pushing Paper

Selected works on paper from the Nerman Museum’s permanent collection will be on view Feb. 19 – Oct. 2, 2022.

Humankind’s history with paper began in Egypt with the use of papyrus as a writing material, beginning around 3,000 BCE. The modern papermaking process was invented in China in about 100 BCE. Paper is both the most basic and the most universal artmaking material—it invites experimentation and the expression of ideas that don’t have to be fully formed.

This exhibition demonstrates a variety of approaches to works on paper. For example, with Second Born, Wangechi Mutu, an American artist born in Kenya, creates an image of a female figure cradling a newborn using a plethora of techniques, including digital printing, collage, hand-printing and coloring—even gold leaf. New York-based artist Jane Hammond’s technique is more straightforward—collage on rice paper—but her graphic vocabulary is complex. The image of a mudra, or hand/finger gesture from Indian classical dance, is central and is surrounded by diverse imagery such as human eyes and a vase with a flower. Artist Rashawn Griffin, who lives and works in Kansas City, embraces paper as a conceptual tool, creating a non-representational portrait using cloth, wood, foam and mixed media on paper.

Most of the artworks in “Pushing Paper” are drawn from the collection of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and are newly on view in our galleries. In sharing the diverse range of innovative artworks that emerge from working with paper, we hope they spark creativity in our visitors.