Greer paper artist Christina Laurel brings four distinct series of her artwork together into “Interconnect,” an exhibition July 5 through Aug. 27 in the Solomon Gallery of the Artists Collective | Spartanburg.
The exhibition features an installation of suspended 3-D elements constructed of shoji-paper accompanying each 2-D series, Laurel says. “Butterfly drapes with my ‘Remnants’ series, gingko strands with my ‘Survivor’ series, and lily pads with my ‘Fossilized’ series. Plus, as an acknowledgement of how COVID affects my art, paper fans with my latest ‘Mask’ series.
“Interconnect is a continual evolving activity that is paramount to our and all species’ survival,” she adds. “Interconnect – an active verb, a common thread of benefit to the planet. Butterflies, lily pads, gingko – they pollinate and detoxify. Recognizable beauty, fragile yet strong, ephemeral yet enduring. Finding balance as quiet and chaos interconnect in our world today.”
Laurel was inspired by biodiversity scientist E.O. Wilson, saying she was “moved” when she learned from him that even butterfly species are becoming extinct. “Influenced by a Japanese aesthetic, especially the Edo period, I began using shoji paper to construct suspended butterfly cocoons, gingko strands and lily pads as my chosen nature motifs,” she says. “Metaphorically, the motifs represent the temporality of life – the butterfly – as well as the 200-million-year survival of life – the gingko. I continue to be moved.”
As for what she hopes visitors to the exhibit take away, Laurel says, “What I hope and what people take away from any exhibit cannot be prescribed. My hundreds of hand-traced, hand-cut and assembled shoji-paper installations, as well as intricately pieced mixed-media/collage pieces, represent a dedication to the creative process, the energy I invest in the creative process. Hopefully this energy will remain palpable within the work.
“I appreciate hearing what each viewer brings to the artwork,” she adds. “I often wish I could walk into an exhibit and see my work as if ‘for the first time.’”
A reception for the exhibition will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 21, in conjunction with Spartanburg ArtWalk, with an artist’s talk at 7 p.m. The 30 pieces in the show will be offered for sale, with prices ranging from $50 to $3,600.
“The team at Artists Collective | Spartanburg is earnest in a dedication to bring a variety of art experiences to the Spartanburg community,” Laurel says.
Laurel, a native of Syracuse, New York, has been an artist for more than 40 years. Her studio is in the City of Greer Center for the Arts. She was an artist-in-residence at ArtRez, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Hambidge Center for Creative Arts, and Paducah Arts Alliance. She was a 2014 grant recipient from Greenville’s Metropolitan Arts Council; and a 2011 Strategic Opportunity Stipend (NYFA/NYSCA) grantee, Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, New York. Her installations include: “Refugium” 2022 in William King Museum, Abingdon, Virginia; 2021 in Converse University Milliken Gallery in Spartanburg; 2020-2021 in Appalachian State University’s Turchin Art Center, Boone, North Carolina; 2017 in “Paper Worlds” exhibit at Spartanburg Art Museum; and 2016 at Greenville Technical College’s Riverworks Gallery, Greenville. Laurel has exhibited in these solo invitational shows: 2022 at Aiken Center for the Arts, Aiken, South Carolina; 2017 at Metropolitan Arts Council, Greenville; and in duo/trio shows, “Temporal Witness” at Gallery at Flat Rock, North Carolina; and 2015 “Three Views” at Geisel Gallery, Rochester, New York. She holds her bachelor’s degree in studio art from The College at Brockport SUNY, with additional studies at Cornell University and University of Maryland.