Fragility Endurance Resilience

Works on Paper

Art on paper is one of the oldest art forms, and yet still considered by many to be fragile or ephemeral.  Museums happily display three dimensional sculpture and oil paintings in the assurance that their condition will not deteriorate through the museum atmosphere or light.  The irony is that many museums largest collections are works on paper, which are preciously stored away without engagement with the public.  The growth of digital engagement with art is changing that.  Covid-19 is changing that.  Our world and the way we appreciate works on paper will be very different in 2021 and beyond. 

I began to discuss my love of works on paper, and the beauty of fine art print, with gallery owner Olivier Cornet long before Covid-19 appeared in our lives.  However, we did debate audience engagement with art online, and breaking down many long held stereotypes that somehow art was less tangible if seen through a screen.  We use the phrase regularly about looking at art ‘in the flesh’ up close and personal, without really thinking about why we are giving more importance to physically being with the artifact. 

The past 8 months has seen the Olivier Cornet Gallery (OCG) alongside galleries worldwide embrace new ways we can engage with art through video clips of the process of art being made, through online viewing rooms and in the OCG’s case through their novel 3D Virtual Space, such as the current OCG exhibition Sanctuary by Nickie Hayden: – Sanctuary-in-virtual-space

Of the current exhibition Sanctuary, artist Nickie Hayden says her work is often a collaboration with other artists, and much work evolves or emanates from those collaborations.   Hayden’s work features Haiku’s in an installation piece accompanied by oil paintings and a series of collaborations with contemporary Irish poets in limited edition screen-prints.  Hayden has often collaborated with writers and the written word.  The show embodies the idea of fragility and endurance. 

So much great art emerges from the fragility of change.  In the months ahead Olivier and I will collate a collection of works on paper, works that can be shared up close and personal through digital means, and which embody the resilience that underpins so much art.  We will look at the longevity of works on paper, and the endurance of colour using pigments bound with oil, and inks which have outlived so many modern art movements.  In the months ahead, watch and wait.  We will unfold works on paper for the world to enjoy in a virtual and physical engagement which will highlight fragility and uphold endurance, and champion resilience.  After all, without resilience there would be no art.

Sanctuary continues at the Olivier Cornet Gallery until 13th December 2020