Papershrine a group exhibition showcasing a series of masks curated by renowned Sydney-based paper engineer Benja Harney and his Paperform team.
The collection features the works of both home-grown and international superstar creatives, personally handpicked to share their extraordinary skills by fashioning their pieces entirely out of paper.
The Lamington Drive gallery space will be spiritually and visually transformed into an immersive shrine dedicated to paper with a focus on each artist’s personal expression of creativity and intrigue. The exhibition will climax with a large-scale Paperform installation casting the moment into a divination of mystical resonance.
On the opening night of Papershrine, Viv Hu sat down with artists Beci Orpin, Spenceroni, Ellen Porteus and Brolga.
Why paper? What drew you to this material and this exhibition?
Ellen: As a primarily digital artist, papercraft is way, way out of my comfort zone. But when the opportunity presented itself, I was really excited to give it a crack. I always like to experiment with how my style translates into different mediums. It turned out to be way harder than I thought!
Brolga: It’s always nice to step away from working digitally to try new things. I found that paper is a tricky and humbling medium to make 3D things out of but I really loved the process.
Beci: I use paper a lot in my own work — I love its flexibility and accessibility
Spenceroni: I was drawn to the exhibition and working with paper for the challenge of working with a new medium. I usually paint on canvas or make sculptures from wood so it was interesting to see how I could translate my artworks into paper forms.
I found that paper is a tricky and humbling medium to make 3D things out of
How did you get involved with Benja Harney and this team of artists?
Beci: I have known the lovely Benja for a few years now, and also admired his work so much, so when he asked me to be a part of the show the answer was of course YES
Spenceroni: Benja contacted me by email to be involved with the exhibition. We've been following each other on Instagram for a while and I've always admired Benja's elaborate paper constructions so I jumped at the chance to be involved in this project.
Ellen: Benja very kindly asked me to contribute, a huge honour considering the amazing lineup!
Brolga: It’s funny, I was thinking about turning some of my characters into masks recently and then got a call up to contribute to the Papershrine show. It’s super cool to be involved in one of Benja’s amazing projects.
For me, creating something tangible (even if it's just a print) is magical!
Outside of this exhibition, what are your favourite materials/methods to use in your practice?
Spenceroni: I generally use paper in my artwork to create collages of compositions, which I then translate to either sculptures or paintings on canvas. My work is very abstract and based on lots of geometric forms, which I cut from paper and then arrange by hand until I create compositions with a balance between tension and harmony.
Beci: Actually, paper! And I’ve been loving painting in gouache. Digital work is my daily jam though.
Brolga: I have a pretty simple workflow of turning pencil drawings into digital artwork but I like to get out of the studio as much as possible to paint murals, as well as slapping up stickers and wheat pastes.
Ellen: My work usually lives on screen, made using software, and so it kind of is created and exists in a bit of an intangible space. So for me, creating something tangible (even if it's just a print) is magical!
I can tell she is a fellow lover of colour and geometric forms!
Traditionally, paper is given as a gift after a one-year anniversary. When thinking about yourself this time last year, what’s changed?
Spenceroni: A year ago I was doing much more figurative work in my art, looking at the human form and intertwining it with different geometric shapes. This year I've stripped my artwork back a lot, simplifying and looking at more pure abstract non-objective artwork and the interaction between form and colour.
Beci: The types of project I’m working and how my approach to them is slowly evolving!
Ellen: The biggest change is my mindset! In the last year or so I've been on a quest to achieve a better work-life balance by focusing on what makes me happiest. It's really changed my outlook.
Brolga: This time last year I was living in Brooklyn, it was summer and I was painting a few murals and going to the beach a lot. Cut to a year later, I’m living in Melbourne for the first time and this shit’s cold!
Did you discover any new artists that you through being a part of this exhibition? Who are they what do you love about their work?
Spenceroni: Yes there were lot's of great artists that I hadn't been exposed to, so was great to discover some new people! I particularly loved the work of Gunjan Aylawadi as it was so intricate and beautiful. I also loved Lisa Lapointe's work as I can tell she is a fellow lover of colour and geometric forms!
Beci: I used this show as an excuse to reference a bunch of great 1970’s paper craft books I have. No particular artists, but some amazing ideas!
Brolga: It gave me time to stop and check out traditional masks from Asia & Africa, which are something else!
Ellen: I haven't seen the other artists' work yet! It'll be a surprise for the opening night!