Show illustrates creativity, reverence for paper

Paper may have become “more and more dismissible” in “the ever changing digital world,” but it provides a crucial connection and is used with great finesse in a show by Kate Rivers and Francene Levinson.

JOHN BRANDENBURG
For The Oklahoman
Modified: December 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm •  Published: December 11, 2012
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Paper may have become “more and more dismissible” in “the ever changing digital world,” but it provides a crucial connection and is used with great finesse in a show by Kate Rivers and Francene Levinson.

The “Paper, Trinkets, Baubles & Things” exhibit of collages and monotypes by Rivers, and Chinese style paper sculptures by Levinson is on view at Paseo Originals Art Gallery, 2920 Paseo.

An art faculty member for about the past 15 years at East Central University in Ada, Rivers uses pieces of “maps, notes, old books and other found materials” in her collages.

“My current work represents an investigation of memory, metaphor and spaces of home, and travel,” said the Ohio native who won an Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition fellowship in 2009.

Circular compositions, on stark white canvas or paper backgrounds, relate most directly to the next-like structure of Rivers’ earlier work, “woven as a bird weaves and constructs a home.”

Offering a good counterpoint are Rivers’ vertical works, in which numerous thin strips of paper suggest tall trees, and her horizontal collages referring to both plains and mountain landscape subjects.

A comic strip version of “Liberty” leads the people in Rivers’ circular collage of that title, which also contains postage stamps, map and music references, handwritten and printed texts, and part of a chocolate wrapper.

Even more elegant circular works by Rivers include “Magic Lantern,” which almost seems to be expanding, like a reverse vortex, and “Truth and Liberty,” which includes safety-pinned labels on old prize ribbons.

Rich colors are built up, using only thin horizontal strips of paper in such Rivers collages as “Oklahoma Sunrise” and “Oklahoma Sunset,” which contrast nicely with the more restrained blues and whites of a “Mountain Sunset.”

Emphasizing color, too, are Rivers’ depictions of “Aspens,” “Fall Aspens” and “Aspens Late Afternoon,” in which yellow, black and blue provide the key vertical elements.

Supplying a good counterpoint to her paper collages are two Rivers monotypes of crows at “Dawn” and “Dusk,” and a third of a nude woman, having “Lunar Dreams,” as she lies on the horizon in front of a giant full moon.

Birds also figure prominently in the work of Boca Raton, Fla., artist and retired middle school teacher Levinson, who uses the ancient technique of Chinese modular paper folding to create strong, organic, sculptural forms.

Particularly striking are Levinson’s paper sculptures of a black and white “Raptor,” who appears to be swooping down on its prey, and of a pale, green “Phoenix,” mythically rising from white, folded paper flames, drained of color.

In “Temptation,” “Nestling,” and “Roost,” semi-abstract yet birdlike forms are used by Levinson to evoke human as well as avian relationships, emotions and interactions.

The two-person show is highly recommended during its run through Dec. 30 at Paseo Originals, where a closing reception is planned from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 28.

Hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Call 604-6602 or visit the website at www.PaseoOriginals.com for information.

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