Time Being, a challenging exhibition of new work on paper by Sky Pape that she began as a riff on the infinity symbol, in essence the figure 8, and grew into a series that calls for contemplation of transience and continuity and human mortality, is currently on view at the June Kelly Gallery and will continue to be shown through December 14.
“Thick, primal motifs confront the viewer with enigmatic apertures, barriers, and pathways,” Pape says in a statement on the work. “Swirls of black ink simultaneously conceal and reveal implicit shapes and ambiguous expanses of decisive color and luminosity. Crossings, continuums and edges serve as existential metaphors, an invitation to reflect upon the flow of life, its dualism and unity.
“Universal continuity and our impermanence are bewilderingly and wonderfully connected. Like a path on a Möbius strip, one treads on both sides simply by continuing to move along.”
Pape says she works on a large flat surface, on the studio floor indoors or the bare ground outside, the size of the pieces relating to her reach. Black ink is painstakingly applied with homemade brushes and palm fronds, then washed way with water, leaving textures and fine traces that contrast starkly with regions of intense color.
“Earthy materials like water, Sumi ink and paper,” says Pape, “convey my connection with the natural world. Water exposes my beginning; the soot, ash, and organic components of the ink disclose my end.”
Pape, a native of Toronto, Canada, lives and works in New York City. She studied art at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and at Parsons School of Design and the Art Students League in New York. She spent a month in 2010 in Bellagio, Italy, on a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Pape has shown in many solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her work is represented in numerous public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, Dyke Industries, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Cirque du Soleil, Montreal, Canada.