It is always a wonderful surprise to discover the intuitive ways in which Japanese washi paper can be manipulated, presented, and experienced. What a delight it was to come into The Paper Place last Monday morning to find an invitation to artist Alea Drain’s upcoming exhibition on our staff message board. Drain, whose most recent body of work will be given a well-deserved reception at Gallery 129 on December 1, 7-10 pm, interacts with washi paper in a way that is both idiosyncratic and produces whimsical images.
Employing the downward puncturing motion of a sewing machine, Drain excises her delicate drawings in a gesture interestingly opposite to the additive technique of traditional drawing. The outcome, bundles of curved white tendrils, are made visible by backlights built into the artist’s self-constructed shadow boxes. Her uncanny yet charming creatures all but crawl off the washi paper, tempting even the most obstinate art lover to entertain their childhood daydreams once more.
Visit Alea Drain’s exhibit, Threaded Lightly, at Gallery 129 between November 30-December 22 to begin to get to know the intriguing qualities of Japanese washi paper! Perhaps Drain might inspire you to recombine your own skills with washi paper, producing innovative visual material yourself!
To see her past art work, including evocative pieces executed with ink, acrylic wash, and Letraset on paper, see her personal website.