If you think of frogs or birds when someone mentions origami, then perhaps you need to visit the new exhibit, “Folding Paper: the Infinite Possibilities of Origami,” at the Crocker Art Museum, where you’ll see some frogs and some birds, but you’ll also see pieces created by artists from around the globe that go far beyond what’s taught in elementary school.
How about a dress that can be worn standing up, and a matching pair of shoes? Each item was created from a single sheet of parchment paper, without making any cuts. If a parchment dress isn’t to your liking, perhaps a red dress created from a more traditional dress fabric will suit you for that special evening out.
What do dresses have to do with origami? Well, as this exhibit shows, the art of folding paper touches many aspects of daily life, including clothing, buildings, maps and even phone designs.
You won’t want to rush through this exhibit because the lighting is as important as each piece. Watch how the shadows play on Bernie Peyton’s “Frog on a Leaf,” which reminded me of a haiku. Move in close, to the left, to the right, then step back and see how the light shifts, allowing some parts to come forward and others to recede.
One of the most important pieces in the exhibit is Miri Golan’s “Two Books,” which have tiny people figures emerging from the Koran and the Torah. The tiny figures, which appear to be worshipping, come together in peace.
As surprising as the parchment dress is the array of materials used to create these objects. While some artists worked with traditional materials, others, like Giang Dinh, chose to use watercolor paper, as Dinh does for his piece “Fly.”
Spheres created by artists from Poland, Japan and Germany incorporated metallic paper, ticker tape, paper tape and even copy paper, while Robert J. Lang used glassine paper for his piece, “3 7 Hyperbole Limit, Opus 600,” one of few relatively flat pieces in the exhibit.
The tiniest piece in the exhibit is a crane folded from a candy wrapper. Be sure to take time to read about Sadako Sasaki and how she came to fold this crane, if you do not already know her story.
What should you not miss? The film showing speed folding; Lang’s giclee prints of the crease patterns he used in creating “Bull Moose,” “Scorpion,” and “Red-Tailed Hawk”; the story of the impact of origami on science and industry; and the history of origami, including information about Akira Yoshizawa, who became known as Japan’s first origami fine artist.
This exhibit, curated by Meher McArthur, opened Sunday, June 30, and runs through September 29. To complement the exhibit, the Crocker Art Museum is offering several special events for adults and children. Please visit the museum’s website for more information.
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