Manhattan Times Art Review: Sky Pape

Art Review Sky Pape in Manhattan Times

Art Seen Uptown: Sky Pape
by Daniel P. Bader, The Manhattan Times, Volume 10, No. 26, June 25—July 1, 2009
[Cover image and p.15 of Home-Delivered Edition]

Sky Pape Crescendo, Surface Tension Series
Artist: Sky Pape Title: “Crescendo” ink on paper, 39″h x 29-3/8″w.

To create her as yet untitled work, artist Sky Pape spent hours on her hands and knees, blowing bubbles of a special ink and water mixture onto a piece of handmade Japanese paper. The result is a wonderful abstract piece, of which one gains even more appreciation when you learn how it was created.

“I draw each bubble one at a time by bending over the paper and blowing a mixture of ink and water very carefully through a tube. I create my composition by crawling around the paper on my hands and knees, stopping from time to time to put the piece up on the wall, so I can check how it will look from the proper perspective,” Pape said in a response to emailed questions.

“If you came in and saw me engaged in this activity, you might kindly suggest that I get my head examined.”

The bubble-technique is a work of art in itself.

“I had to create a formula to facilitate making bubbles with the ink and water. But like many formulae, it’s secret! It took a lot of experimentation to get the formula just right, and I adjusted it and my technique frequently to get different effects in the drawing, such as tone, depth, and line. There were some happy surprises along the way, but also many frustrationg disappointments,” Pape said.

She added that all of her work is just that — work. It’s hard and it takes a lot of time.

“All my work tends to be very labor intensive and time consuming to make. I dream about being able to just dash off a brilliant drawing one day, but in reality, the methods I come up with all seem to take forever,” she said.

If she doesn’t pay attention, that work could be lost very easily.

Detail of "Crescendo," ink on paper, by Sky Pape.
Detail of “Crescendo,” ink on paper, by Sky Pape.

“The humidity and temperature affect how the materials behave when I’m working, and I always have to take that into account or risk ruining a piece that has taken a very long time to make.”

The piece [above] is untitled for now but time may provide the inspiration.

“Occasionally a title will come to me while I’m working on a drawing, but mostly I have to wait and live with it a while before the title becomes apparent,” she said. ‘For now, I just refer to it as ‘the new brown one.’ If you said that to me, I’d know what you’re talking about.”

Contact Sky Pape at, by email at or thorugh the June Kelly Gallery,166 Mercer St, 3rd Floor, New York, NY, 212-226-1660.