Kim Brewer, Rosebud Moments in Paper Planes #3, 2012

“Arkansas Women to Watch: Paper Routes,” a new exhibition at the Brad Cushman Gallery at University of Arkansas Little Rock, features paper-based selections from female Arkansas artists. The exhibition is open Jan. 29 – March 12.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. selected this year’s theme, “Paper,” and featured Joli Livaudais (Photography, UA Little Rock), who represented Arkansas in this highly regarded biennial Women to Watch. The exhibition is underwritten by the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts–thanks to grants and gifts from champions of women’s art–and features work by artists Kim Brewer, Joli Livaudais, Linda Nguyen Lopez, and Suzannah Schreckhise.

Paper is commonplace and accessible; it bears text and imagery as a vehicle for communication, and it serves as a support for art forms such as printmaking, photography, illustration, painting, and more. The first documented papermaking process was recorded in China more than 2,000 years ago, but mass-produced paper – created cheaply from cellulose fibers converted into pulp – has become a worldwide staple since the nineteenth century.

However, over the last 50 years, the advancing digital revolution and environmental concerns over deforestation have relegated paper to a unique category. While not rare, it has taken on a rarefied air in certain contexts. Handwritten notes, protest signs, and party decorations express sincerity or mark special occasions. Yet, it is also a material we rely on to wipe up spills, scratch out equations or shopping lists, and dry our tears. Our relationship to paper is complex. Its mutable meanings are mirrored by its malleability as a material. Contemporary artists often employ traditional methods while incorporating new conceptual uses for paper as an art medium, according to the University of Arkansas Little Rock Gallery.

The permanent collection “Arkansas Women from the UA Little Rock” features artists Laura Carenbauer, Amy Edgington, Dorothy Hinson, Robyn Horn, Leslie Garrett, Latoya Hobbs, Delita Martin, Helen Phillips, Emily Shiell, Dominique Simons, Melissa Weiss, Renee Williams and Sally A. Williams. This exhibition highlights works created with a variety of materials and reflects the diversity of the featured artists who studied at UALR and other state and national programs.

Visit the gallery online for exhibition details and streaming lectures at