Vermont-based artist Jennifer Koch and Scissor Drawings opens at Ningyo Editions tomorrow.
For those of us growing weary, despondent and downright apathetic of the state of ‘sailboat and sunset’ art throughout our downtown Boston galleries, there is hope. Ningyo Editions, a Watertown gallery specializing in editioned, series and one-of-a-kind prints from emerging artists, is cranking out innovative and intriguing exhibitions. This summer is no exception with the Boston-area premiere of Vermont-based artist Jennifer Koch and Scissor Drawings.
83 SPRING STREET, WATERTOWN
FREE/6.10-8.21 OPENING RECEPTION JUNE 10, 6pm-9pm; THURS, SAT 12pm-4pm; AND BY APPOINTMENT
Weekly Dig: Let’s start with the not so obvious: what exactly is a scissor drawing and what are you doing with them?
Jennifer Koch: The process of making the scissor drawings is simply cutting black paper with scissors with no primary drawing or templates and applying them to dictionary pages. The images I create are inspired by the 2,500 pictorial illustrations from the 1925 Funk & Wagnall’s Practical Standard Dictionary. I found this particular dictionary and I was immediately drawn to its period illustrations, as well as and its particular name.
Silhouette art is having a resurgence in both the craft and fine art area this past decade – where do you see one ending and the other beginning?
Craft ends and art begins when it enters the realm of “other”. The 18th century Victorian cut-out was a means of translating a portrait as silhouette and it evolved to a craft. For my work I wanted a different process to create a drawing and scissors became my tool.
Artists like Kara Walker and William Kentridge use silhouette as a means to communicate often complex narratives; what are you hoping to convey through Scissor Drawings?
My drawings have more abstract associations to their meaning and are less linear as a narrative.
My hope is that the viewer will have their own experience with the drawings and create a more varied and broad narrative.
Much of this exhibition is made up of illustration series, some abstract, others obvious, and each with apparent repetition. Is this the result of compulsiveness or aesthetic?
The scissor drawings are compulsive but not cathartic. Over explaining the art often shortens the life of the work and I choose to leave enough room for multiple interpretations. I arrive at images through a process of exploring a new set of conditions to create the work.
Cutting became my process and the dictionary became my source that defines my boundaries for the work.
There seem to be an awful lot of sea creatures in this exhibition. So…what’s up with that?
The cuttings started out as an exercise in drawing and I was drawn to particular images and these resulted in a process that allowed me to consider other possibilities. As a result small visual narratives began to pop up. I didn’t necessarily start off with sea creatures, I made one shark and they spawned a whole school.