PaperWest Exhibit in Art & Art History building showcases versatility and beauty of paper


By Casey Koldewyn

Normally when college students think of the word “paper” they also think of long research projects with confusing citation requirements culminating in a final product they turn in and subsequently try to forget. In actuality, paper has many purposes and uses. For example, it can be used as a lovely doodling platform in class, for notes, for origami or to turn in assignments for those teachers who distrust Canvas. Honestly, though, when was the last time you actually used paper? Paper is a secondary literary technology for students of our generation. For some, however, paper is more than that thing you use when you can’t a computer isn’t available, more than a grueling research project — for them, paper itself is beautiful and can be transformed into art with only minor adjustments.

Right now, 24 of those people, who hail from 10 western states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, have some of their paper-based work on display at the Alvin Gittins Gallery in the U’s Art & Art History building. The collection is called “PaperWest” and is worth looking into. For those of you who aren’t art majors, this building has likely never caught your attention. From now until Nov. 25, that should change. “PaperWest” showcases multiple uses of paper that may challenge what you previously thought of the medium.

If M. Larsen’s “Truffle” doesn’t catch your eye the second you enter the room, with its brilliant coloring and unusual shape, not to mention the subject of the painting itself, you may be colorblind. This painting utilizes oil, a thicker painting tool, and lays it on the weaker medium of paper to stunning effect.

A.J. Nafziger’s “Out of This World I” is worth a whopping $500. Think of all the money you could be making if you made use of your paper. Honestly, though, good luck managing to produce something like this, or any of Nafziger’s other submissions, such as “Out of This World II.”

“Wishing Water Well I” by Mary Ann Kokoska is another stunning piece, full of color and stunning depth that photos can not do justice.

The piece “Dead Wrestlers: Their Words” by Judith Baumann showcases images of professional wrestlers on one side and their stories, including one of their quotes and the way they died to draw attention to the frequency of death among professional wrestlers. You can handle each image as long as you put on gloves first. Such utilization of the tactility of paper seems unique, and this piece is an interesting one thanks in part to that.

These are just a few of the many paintings, drawings and other art currently on display until Nov. 25. Make sure you stop by sometime between now and then.

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