Slide Show: From Start to Finish

It’s been a really long time since my last post and it feels great to be back!

Thanks to those of you who keep reading BoveyBlog.

This year has been totally insane and it is astonishing we are in November already. Where does the time go?

Oh, right, mine all went to cutting paper. Many people are curious how I create my work.

Here’s a slide show that offers insight into what it takes for me to make a cut paper piece. Hope you enjoy it.

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What to Come in Early 2013?

The new year begins with a big bang! There are several upcoming exhibitions and art fairs to come and all before the first half of 2013.

You can see my works at these locations:

January 17-March 9, Bovey Lee: Conundrums, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco

briefcase-vacation-autumn

Bovey Lee, Briefcase Vacation-Fall, 2012

February 21-July 14, Paper Unbound: Horiuchi and Beyond, Wing Luke Museum, Seattle

Bovey Lee, Memory Windows I, 2010

Bovey Lee, Memory Windows I, 2010

March 6-10, Scope, New York

Bovey Lee, Dragging Cows Up A Tree, 2011

Bovey Lee, Dragging Cows Up A Tree, 2011

March 30-May 11, Bovey Lee: Cut Paper (TBA), Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach

trimming-feathers

Bovey Lee, Trimming Feathers, 2012

May 23-26, Art Basel, Exhibition and Convention Center, Hong Kong

Bovey Lee, Vase 3, 2012

Bovey Lee, Vase 3, 2012

My Top Picks – What Happened in 2012

Looking back, 2012 has been absolutely tremendous in many ways. Reflecting upon it, there are numerous memorable events and moments. I have come up with the top picks to share with you. Wish you all a very happy and fulfilling 2013. What a way to end the year!

Bovey Lee: Undercurrents, solo exhibition, Nevada Museum of Art, 2012

Bovey Lee: Undercurrents, solo exhibition, Nevada Museum of Art, 2012

New gallery representation, Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida

New gallery representation, Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida

"Carry the Sky", public art commission, Lai Chi Kok Government Offices, Hong Kong

“Carry the Sky”, public art commission, Lai Chi Kok Government Offices, Hong Kong

"Bloom", solo exhibition in Shanghai presented by Hugo Boss

“Bloom”, solo exhibition in Shanghai presented by Hugo Boss

Window installation, Hugo Boss, 16 stores across Asia

Window installation, Hugo Boss, 16 stores across Asia

Created a new body of cut paper works

Created a new body of cut paper works

Scope, international art fair, New York City

Scope, international art fair, New York City

"Bovey Lee: Bloom", solo exhibition, Grotto Fine Art, Hong Kong

“Bovey Lee: Bloom”, solo exhibition, Grotto Fine Art, Hong Kong

ArtHK12, international art fair, Exhibition and Convention Centre, Hong Kong

ArtHK12, international art fair, Exhibition and Convention Centre, Hong Kong

"The Miami Project", new art fair with Rena Bransten Gallery

“The Miami Project”, new art fair with Rena Bransten Gallery

Visiting artist talks at Nevada Museum of Art, California College of the Arts, and University of California at Berkeley

Visiting artist talks at Nevada Museum of Art, California College of the Arts, and University of California at Berkeley

Contributed to "Material World" published by Virgin Books/Random House, London, UK

Contributed to “Material World” published by Virgin Books/Random House, London, UK and “High Touch” published by Gestalten, Berlin, Germany.

High Touch – A New Book Featuring the “Power Plant” Series

I wasn’t expecting a delivery today but Fedex dropped off a large box. Opening it up and pleasantly found “High Touch” in it. Published by Gestalten in Berlin, it features the “Power Plant” series, a set of three cut paper works. Among the artists in the book, there are many fellow artists including Do Ho Suh whose work I admire, Mia Pearlman, Gregory Euclide, and Olek.

High Touch, a new book featuring the “Power Plant” series is published by Gestalten, Berlin, 2012.

Questions from Karla Nixon, Fine Art Student, Durban University of Technology, South Africa

1) In interviews you have had, the question ‘why paper?’ often comes up, you mention its humbleness, the familiarity everyone has with it, as well as the personal and cultural significance you have with rice paper. My question is, why is paper the most suitable medium to convey your concepts of power, sacrifice and survival? Do you think you could use any other medium as effectively?

The fragility of cut paper creates the strongest contrast and paradox against the concepts that are dense and complex. I don’t think there is a better material/medium that can be as effective.

2) I have found, through my experiences, that the technique and medium can easily overpower the conceptual underpinning. Are there certain devices that you employ to either overcome or utilize the seductive quality of the paper-cutting?

Cut paper historically links to craft and reeducation is important to unlink what’s expected and understood of the medium. It is my goals to re-inform and challenge people what cut paper could be capable of conceptually and ask them to look beyond just the material and techniques. To achieve that, it is very important that my work is idea-driven. The idea comes first and foremost. I tend to construct highly complex narratives and they justify (even require) the intricacy and labor-intensive process that follows. I don’t necessarily want or try to overcome the seductive quality of cut paper. I want viewers’ attention so when they look closer, deeper, and longer, they realize there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

3) Other then tackling contemporary issues in your work, what makes you a contemporary paper-cutter? If you didn’t mention it in the above question, what, if any, postmodern strategies/devices do you employ in your work? (please refer to specific works if you feel applicable)

I utilize the computer in my work to compose images for the cut paper and my work has a level of digital aesthetics. Using a highly sophisticated machine to prepare for what is created entirely by hand is interesting and quite refreshing if you consider how most things are made since Industrial Revolution.

In forming the image, the method I use takes images at their face value to generate new meanings and concepts within the work, eradicating the inherit burden of time, space, geography, culture, and context. There is plenty of high and low culture conflation in my work and essentially the images are complex and fused collages of fragments. As a result, my work is often an irony and parody, with or without playfulness and humor.

In “Tsunami-Oblivious” for example, the waves are referenced from Houkusai’s famous woodblock print, the girl on the couch is a recent photo taken in a Malaysian village, I placed a photo of myself taken in my studio as one of the characters floating in currents, the oil rigs are from different countries around the world, the plane is the US Airways flight that landed safely on the Hudson river, and virtually all the other images are existing and from different sources.

Bovey Lee, “Tsunami–Oblivious”, 2009

4) What is your favorite work you’ve made to date? Why? Please include the concept behind the work.

I very seldom think about what work is my favorite. A work is an open door to the next work and to the next, and so on and so forth. However, there are several pieces such as “Hanging Gown”, “Atomic Jellyfish”, and “St. Sebastian Fantasy” that I consider to be significant in setting the tones and directions for other works.

Bovey Lee, “Hanging Gown”, 2006

Bovey Lee, “Atomic Jellyfish”, 2007

Bovey Lee, “St. Sebastian Fantasy (front)”, 2006

5) If you have time, please tell me about your work “Baking McMansion”.

“Baking McMansion” is a piece about what we broadly define as “a good life” today – a family of working parents and beautiful children living in and expanding an extravagant, mansion-like dwelling with luxurious vehicles, domestic helpers, manicured landscaping, and etc.. I compare this life building and expectation to baking a huge, fancy cake on the pedestal.

Bovey Lee, “Baking McMansion”, 2011

New X-Acto #11 Blade Coated With…

Zirconium Nitride.

When was the last time the #11 blade made an improvement? I have been using the same one made of carbon or stainless steel since I was a kid. The Z series blade, as X-Acto named it, is probably the biggest change in a long time.

The Zirconium Nitride coating is on the grind and hone of the blade. According to X-Acto’s project engineer I spoke with, the coated blade is at least 4 times sharper and stays sharper minimum 6 times longer than a regular blade. Its performance has been consistent when tested against copy paper, cardboard, balsa wood, and many other materials.

Here’s a picture I took comparing the Z series blade with the regular variety. Because the coating is only on the grind and hone and not on the body of the blade, it allows the blade to bend but not snap if/when under too much pressure and therefore is safer to use.

Click to see larger image:

Blade comparison

#11 Blade comparison

Zirconium Nitride is a hard ceramic. When applied using the PVD process (physical vapor deposition) done in vacuum chamber, it is usually coated onto metal surfaces for heavy use and wear including drill bits and medical devices, according to Wikipedia. The new #11 blade uses the same process.

I did a quick test cutting a small pattern using the Z series blade the other day. I cut a small pattern on one sheet of rice paper with silk backing, the same variety I typically use for my works. I didn’t feel that it cut any sharper than the regular variety. I have not used it to cut thicker or harder materials. The new blade looks different and has a slight golden sheen. To give a fair assessment, I will have to use the Z series blade longer and make more cuts to test its longevity and sharpness.

As a cut paper artist using lots of blades, I am excited about a longer and sharper blade that could be more cost-effective and environmental friendly. The project engineer said that the Z series blade is more expensive (guessing 20-30%) than the regular variety. It will launch in North America in September, 2011.