I come from a family of visual storytellers. I have always believed that our vision is as important as our hearing when we communicate. Very rarely do we rely on words alone. It is what we see, and how our brains interpret what we see that shapes our perceptions and actions. I began cutting paper with that understanding. I want my art to communicate to the observer what my words cannot do effectively.
When I was a child I thought a great deal about hidden spaces. The intimacy, the hushed secrecy – I was always looking underneath objects, or through them. I have always believed that if you look hard enough, you will see something precious and new, or, perhaps, something incredibly ancient and sacred.
When I cut paper, I feel as if I am peeling back the outer, superficial layer of our vision to reveal the secret space beneath. With paper cutting there are so many opportunities to create negative space that tells its own story. Letting the observer become present in the piece allows him or her to look through it. I like the idea of the stark contrast between the black and white paper, and the cut nature of the work makes my art more three-dimensional than paint on canvas.
I have great respect for paper. When I cut, the thin membranous material reveals its strength to me. No matter how small my cuts the paper holds. There is a certain comfort in that, a comfort I enjoy. I feel that there are very few things in the world as reliable and constant as paper. Paper is everywhere and it has been telling stories for centuries. By respecting and honoring paper for what it is, and not considering it a stepping-stone to something greater, I feel like I am communicating some of the pleasure it brings to me. I am not creating for Art’s sake. I am creating for Paper’s sake, to make visible the stories that every piece of paper attempts to communicate to us.
Maude White is a papercutting artist living in the Hudson Valley. She loves the great strength, yet delicacy of paper. Her work is done on the macro as well as the micro level. Every cut is exact and meaningful. She enjoys playing with positive and negative space to create fantastic scenes and stories. She considers herself a craftsperson and has a deep respect for the paper she transforms. In pursuing her work, she hopes to make visible to others the immense world of possibilities that every piece of paper holds.
Maude has exhibited her work at several galleries in Western New York and the Hudson Valley, been published, and taught classes both to children and adults. She hopes to continue exhibiting her work and expanding into more installation based and site specific papercutting work.
To read an interview with Maude click here