Tahiti Pehrson estimates he spent 1,500 hours hand-cutting the three 17-foot paper towers that greet visitors to Art on Paper, which opens today at Pier 36 in Lower Manhattan. Light radiates through the sculptures’ roughly 100,000 holes, formed in overlapping floral patterns based on the Fibonacci sequence, sliced with over 11,000 blades. “People can really interact and move inside it,” he told Hyperallergic, while he was still putting the finishing touches on the colossal yet elegant installation. “You’re part of it. I like the idea of people being included in art rather than being in opposition.”
This is the third edition of Art on Paper in conjunction with New York’s Armory Week and, like its 2015 debut, which featured Wayne White’s huge cardboard cowboy puppets, Pehrson’s “The Fates” installation offers an accessible, interactive gateway to the around 80 gallery booths at the fair. “It invites people to get to know a work of art a little better,” Pehrson’s curator, Lynzy Blair, explained. Initially, “The Fates” was created for Viacom’s Times Square space. “The way they were displayed there in the window, you couldn’t get the full 3D effect,” Blair said. Visitors to Art on Paper can step between the paper monoliths and look inside their luminous interiors, the shifting patterns of lighting suggesting a constant transformation. Pehrson said that feeling was in response to a moment in his personal life when his father was dying and his daughter had just been born, so the three pillars represent in a way three different stages of life.
Pehrson’s work is one of several projects featured at Art on Paper, which weren’t all completely installed at the time of our early preview. However, “The Living Room,” crafted by Timothy Paul Myers in collaboration with Andrew Barnes, was already spilling a torrent of gray felt flowers from its fabric fireplace, the centerpiece of an elaborate, site-specific installation of a surreal domestic space. Like many of the artworks featured in the fair, it utilizes paper in its composition, but isn’t necessarily the kind of work you think of when considering “art on paper.”
Videos and sculptures join prints, photographs, drawings, and paintings presented by the international lineup of participating galleries (albeit with a large New York contingent). Standouts include a display of eerie photographs by the late Morton Bartlett, on view with Marion Harris, which feature his “fantasy family” of sculpted, childlike dolls posed in their handmade outfits; layered watercolor humans in dynamic forms by Balint Zsako, on view with the Proposition; and Jae Ko’s densely mesmerizing rolled paper sculptures, on view with Heather Gaudio Fine Art. Below is a photographic tour through some of the work, although much more will have been installed by the time Art on Paper opens to the public this evening.
Art on Paper continues at Pier 36 (299 South Street, Lower Manhattan) through March 5.