If You Give Someone a Glue Stick…

If you give someone a glue stick, they’re going to want some cool tissue paper to go with it. From there, things will get nifty. 

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Something that I have really enjoyed about Maya Freelon Asante’s exhibition, Volume, is witnessing the creativity that the interactive show pulls from its gallery visitors. Many times, as soon as I tell people what the exhibition is about – that is, a kind of community artwork that involves piecing together bits of colorful tissue paper to create an extended work – they get very excited and rush toward the back of the gallery to start crafting.

There have been several times where a person or a group of people have continued to work for well over half an hour. Some people seem to find a groove in the process of gluing the different pieces of tissue paper together. They have a precise idea of the types of colors they want, the colors they don’t want, and the size or shape of the paper they want to use. Other people decide to just wing it and see how it turns out in the end. Either way, it is exciting for me to see people so interested in contributing their individual ideas to the artwork as a whole. I like looking at the diversity of what people come up with.

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When walking along the forming wall of tissue paper, you will notice unique nuances throughout. In a few places, there are little paper flowers of various shapes. Some are small and neat, while others seem to be in the process of blossoming. In another area, someone shaped the tissue paper into the form of a butterfly. Up against the light, the wings seem to be made up of many different shades due to the transparency of the paper. Other people have chosen to create less specified objects, such as a braid or a hanging trail of smaller pieces of tissue paper. One person even made a heart in honor of Valentine’s Day.

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The thing that strikes me the most when I observe these designs is that not everyone’s idea necessarily fits into a common theme. There is no consensus that you can’t choose a brooding shade of dark brown for a flower and then stick it onto a bright pink background. Somehow, the different designs that people have glued together don’t clash. On the contrary, they merge together in a way that works very well for the mission of this exhibition – to encourage a sense of community. I am eager to see what visitors will bring to the artwork during the final two weeks of the show. 

 

Written by Carmen Dodl

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