Not garbage, it's art: Paper This

Unique exhibit features works of 20 local artists on handmade 'canvases'

The art of papermaking is one thing, but paper made from recycled ski lift passes and used cigarette packs?

This unconventional approach is the foundation of Paper This, a collaborative art experiment using recycled materials that is currently on display at the Scotia Creek Gallery in Millennium Place.

When Whistler-based multidisciplinary artist Arne Gutmann began to experiment with different materials to make paper, it didn't take long before he saw potential in what most consider trash - receipts, McDonald's wrappers and old comic books.

"Things basically you'd find on a walk around a parking lot, especially in Whistler," said Stan Matwychuk.

Matwychuk is one of 20 artists in the Sea to Sky corridor who were approached by Gutmann to put their imagination to work using the paper he had created. Each artist was given a 15 by 19 sheet and free creative rein without cutting or ripping the paper.

Matwychuk used acrylic inks and brushwork to reproduce one of the illustrative characters he's been working on that embodies problem solving and creativity.

"It was interesting to take the piece and appreciate it as a unique article, then see what side you could actually draw on," he said. "Mine had pieces of plastic in it, and different pieces of things that wouldn't take the mediums very well, so you had to re-think your process a little bit."

Visual artist Laurel Terlesky, who explored the role of energy consumption in her popular painting exhibition "We Love This Stuff So Much," chose to keep working with the theme of electricity for the purposes of Paper This. Her canvas, which features a pencil drawing of a coiled-up power cord, was made from lottery tickets and hemp.

For Neil Foster, the exhibit offered the opportunity to publicly display his art for the first time. While working as a screen printer at Toad Hall Studios in Function Junction, he met Gutmann who showed him examples of his handmade paper and invited Foster to participate in the project.

"Mine was made out of reused receipts and milk cartons," said Foster. "I chose it because it had a cool feel to it, and texture."

Recycled artwork is typically featured in many of the local events and festivals such as ArtWalk, the Function Block pARTy and Bass Coast, but this is the first exhibit of its kind to be featured in the Scotia Creek Gallery, with the work of multiple artists using paper handmade by a single artist is exhibited collectively.

"People are very excited to see work that is experimental and they are interested in all the different materials used in the different pieces of paper," said Andrea Mueller, the visual arts programmer for the Whistler Arts Council at Millennium Place. "People have been coming by on a daily basis to view the exhibit and we have received a lot of positive feedback."

Originally displayed at the Burnt Stew Café in Function, Paper This has also been exhibited at the Beaumont Studios in Vancouver.

"This is its last exhibition before Arne retires the collection," said Mueller.

The Paper This installation will be on display at the Scotia Bank Gallery at Millennium Place until next Thursday (Feb. 9).

© Copyright Whistler Question