JESSICA DICKINSON and ALISON KNOWLES
November 1—November 20, 2016

James Fuentes is pleased to present an exhibition of works comprised of paper by Jessica Dickinson and Alison Knowles. While each artist is known for their prescribed disciplines (painting for Dickinson and performance for Knowles), their practices are both flush with works that incorporate paper. The exhibition showcases how the artists push traditional uses of the medium and display the multifarious ways paper can be exploited.

The artist’s share their focus on the everyday for subject matter. Using the media of paper Dickinson concentrates on seemingly mundane moments such as light protruding underneath a door or beaming behind a curtain to construct her works’ compositions. Knowles may focus on utilitarian objects such as a shoe or a bean and contain these materials in paper-like substances such as flax or cotton. Each artist likes to open their work’s dialogue to encompass the time, labor, space, and poetics of daily life. The medium projects beyond its two-dimensional construct and is utilized as a physical entity that often becomes sculptural. Knowles’s Bean Turners are comprised of large homemade pieces of paper, often in hues of burgundy or grey, adhered together with dried beans placed inside. The objects are open tools for performance that can be activated by the artist or the audience. Producing a sound similar to that of a rainstick, the work is at once a device for percussion and meditation.

Dickinson’s works on paper, exhibited framed without glass, showcase the medium as a tactile surface with subtle dimension. Floating within its frame, the works are created through the use of tools and processes not generally associated with pieces completed on paper. As the paper is worked on from both sides and picked at, chiseled, rubbed, and worn through, traditional materials such as graphite, gouache, and pastel are layered in unconventional methods. The end results are pieces whose presence resonates as steel, fabric, or concrete. For both artists the material serves as a platform for performance. Working on a piece for months, sometimes years at a time, Dickinson’s works on paper are composed from the accumulative tracings of her studio process. The artist will place the paper on the floor of her studio, allowing its surface to absorb both her and others’ movements. Compositions materialize through chance rather than orchestration.

For Knowles every work has the potential to initiate a performance. Including the aforementioned Bean Turners, other series include Event Threads that are composed of fragments of paper among other things. These pieces behave as sculptural compositions, since Knowles views their elements like musical notes. Other pieces by Knowles often contain images or literal artifacts from the artist’s personal and studio life. Therefore, like Dickinson, the pieces presented within the gallery showcase a sort of archive of their lives. Thus, surpassing the literal two-dimensionality of paper, these artists exhibit how this ubiquitous medium can be transformed.