Beverly Sky’s work is in the collection of decorative handmade paper/pulp painting at the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. A detail of this pulp painting has been selected as the marquee art for the exhibition Decorative Papers: A Selection of Publications. The exhibition is a selection of treasures from the library’s collection that teach us about contemporary and historical decorated paper methods. January 5 to April 18, 2023.
Multi-disciplinary designer and artist Beverly Sky (American, b. Salzburg Austria, 1947) has an artistic practice that has evolved from publishing, book design, printmaking to papermaking/pulp painting and fabric collage on canvas. She has lived in Japan and maintains a studio in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Building creative communities has been a longtime passion and she has been part of several projects founding artist work spaces such as River Street Artists, Waltham and Brickbottom, Somerville. She currently has a studio in the landmark Fenway Studios building in Boston, Massachusetts as well as a small plot of paradise in the nearby Fenway Victory Gardens where she grows Dahlias and weeds. Here’s a view into her work and process.
Detail, Autumn Leaves, Handmade Paper/Pulp Painting, Cotton, Abaca, 10″ x 8″, 2005, Edition 12/250
Metaphorically, Birch trees are pioneers in areas that have been damaged by catastrophe, and in this series of pulp paintings I represented them as both resilient and flexible, reaching upward yet bending in the wind.
This particular portfolio series was an edition of two hundred and fifty blue pigmented HMP sheets that were pulp painted simultaneously, numbered and sold. I thought of this work as pieces of an environmental puzzle. If all the two hundred and fifty owners of this piece came together and put their sheets into their numbered places, that would be the entire piece, whole once again.
My work as a fiber artist began with weaving large tapestries and evolved into papermaking / pulp painting and now, fabric collage. The landscapes that I created in handmade paper (HMP) were emotional and atmospheric whereas currently, my work in fabric collage tends to be idea or narrative based. In fabric collage, I use the intrinsic qualities of fabrics, colors, patterns, textures and images as a painting medium to express philosophical and spiritual concerns. My connection with nature is expressed in the relationship between material and content. I use pulp or cellulose, the fundamental structure of plant life, to create my own worldview of places I know and love.
Beverly Sky, Evolution: The Sands of Time, Fabric Collage on canvas, 36″ x 36″
Beverly Sky, Ventana Al Pasado: A Window Into Gold & Silver Mining in Mexico 1810, Fabric Collage on canvas, 36″ x 36″
Beverly Sky, Amore y Morte: Sharing the Same Root, Fabric Collage on canvas, 36″ x 36″
Image credit: All images courtesy of Beverly Sky.