MISSY ENGELHARDT

Artist Statement

My current body of work explores the material properties of paper. Specifically I am working with photo backdrop or seamless paper. My practice revolves around searching out materials and exploring their physical properties through simple techniques. A major part of my thinking deals with collaborating with the material and trying to enhance it.

With this current body of work I am interested in using marks typically associated with paper like cutting, tearing, folding, scoring, and wrinkling. For each piece I choose one or two of these types of treatments and experiment by covering an entire sheet of paper with a repetition of that idea. This is a composition strategy that does not focus on creating an image per se. Instead it is about creating a record of my physical encounter with the object. For instance the scoring pieces are a vertical archive of marks. The first mark determining the function of the next mark and so on. I am interested in the repetition of marks because it creates a space of familiarity, finesse, and elegance.

Seamless paper is meant to be the background of an image. I am interested in subverting that expectation by affecting markings across the surface of the seamless sheet. I turn something reserved for two-dimensional representation in a three-dimensional form in hopes of exposing its material reality. In a sense I am transforming a prop in the main character.

The scale of this work is also a result of the materials industrial function. I really like collaborating with this feature of the paper. Because of the size of the rolls of paper my pieces take on the size of its surrounding architecture citing the work of Richard Sera. Unlike his work my pieces are not rigid and dense. My pieces are fragile, permeable, and absorbent ready to receive my touch.

Ultimately I strive to give physical form and texture to chosen material collaborator.