Cover Magazine

Processing Natural Order: Sky Pape at June Kelly Gallery
by Chloe Veltman, Cover Magazine, September 1999

Sky Pape’s Inklings deal with time, yet possess neither beginning nor end. Pape describes her pieces as “works of inconspicuous beginnings,” but the endings, resisting definiton, are equally obscure. Pape’s work has its origins in the tradition of paper and ink drawings, but rather than seeing paper as a flat surface upon which to sketch, Pape’s hand-torn strips of stiff, pulpy Japanese Kozo paper protrude from the gallery walls in horizontal rows, creating fascinating three-dimentional effects.

One of the most striking of these is the moment-to-monent play of natural elements of the works. As the breeze blew in June Kelly’s Broadway gallery, so the layers of paper subtly rippled; as the afternoon shadows lengthened on the walls, so the changing light transformed the physical surfaces of the pictures.

In Drift (1999), splattered dots of dark ink randomly spot the gleaming white terrain. Dabbing color onto the uppermost strips, the artist allowed the ink to soak through the layers haphazardly. The finished work is an ingenious realization of the processes and unpredictability of time.

“Driven by the existence and effects of incomprehensible, random forces within a rational system of implied order,” Pape’s words find their apotheosis in The Last Letter, (1998). With its segmented landscape of bleeding, frayed edges, the picture suggests unfinished business.

Not least for the choice of Japanese materials and the simple uncluttered lines, Pape’s work reflects a strong Eastern influence. The stiff parchment pleats recall the designs of Issey Miyake, while thematically, the focus on the random processes of nature glances toward Buddhist teaching. Pape’s works adorn the walls of galleries, private homes, and corporations, yet unsurprisingly, she would like to see her works displayed in a place for meditation.

Read more: Works on Paper from the Collection of the Sheldon Museum of Art, museum catalog essay by Cynthia Nadelman.

Read more: Inklings: Drawings – Sky Pape at June Kelly Gallery,” essay by Jonathan Goodman.

Read more: Review Magazine, “Sky Pape at June Kelly Gallery,” by Mark Daniel Cohen.

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