PARRSBORO, N.S. – Even though he hung and prepared the exhibition himself, Harvey Lev still sees something new every time he walks through it.
“You hang them and get a different take, then you walk through it and get a different take, then you become like a little spy and listen to what other people say, and all of a sudden you have another take on something,” said Lev, who owns and operates Main & Station Nonesuch Gallery in Parrsboro with Judith Bauer. “It’s really a nice adventure.”
It’s so interesting, what people do in the time, and how they think about these things.
He was speaking of the annual Art of Paper awards, an international exhibition hosted at the gallery, which opened with a gala reception on Saturday, Sept. 23.
This year’s exhibition had more than 200 submissions, and is displaying 84 pieces from 13 different countries. Fifty-seven pieces are from Canada, with 19 of those from the Maritime provinces, six from Ontario, 30 from Quebec, one from British Columbia and one from Manitoba. Thirteen others are from U.S.-based artists, while three came from Poland, two from Australia, and others from Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and Switzerland
It follows up last year’s successful exhibition, and will once again be shown in both Parrsboro and Montreal, Que. It will be shown in Parrsboro until Oct. 15, while the Montreal show will open on Dec. 1.
Six awards will be given, four of them selected by jury. Two people’s choice awards will be given this year – one in Parrsboro, and one in Montreal – a change Bauer said they made last year.
“It became apparent that we needed to have one for the show here and one for the show there, because the choices were so different,” she said. “It wasn’t right to only give one.”
Seeing the different responses in the two different locations was fascinating for Lev last year.
“The one that was the most popular here, hardly garnished any interest in Montreal,” he said. “It’s so interesting when you take it to a different audience. It’s nice because we learn as we go on by how people react.”
This year’s works once again include a wide variety of uses of the medium, with the only rule being that they involve paper in some way. Entries have included sculptures, drawings, cutouts, lithographs, paintings, and mixed media work. One piece was made with “paper clay,” a process that involves creating clay forms with paper inside, and then burning off the paper in the firing process. Another piece involved pouring paper pulp into cracks in the asphalt of a road, with copper wire inside of it, and then pulling it out after it hardened.
“That’s one that I could actually look at and say I had never seen that before,” said Lev. “It’s so interesting, what people do in the time, and how they think about these things.”
More than 80 people attended Saturday’s reception, including several of the artists.