Light and Living Paper
At first glance, the objects in these photos seem to be organic life forms of various size and species, bodies of cells that have clustered and expanded. Upon closer inspection, however, they can be distinguished as biomorphic-shaped sculptures, crafted meticulously by sculptor Mary Button Durell. The organic quality of the works is due much in part to the materials and process used to build them; each sculpture is made only of tracing paper and wheat paste, built up and reinforced by hand. Their structure is comprised by adjoining individual cells and cones, molded and formed by folding over several paper layers for rigidity and strength.
Light is also an important aspect to creating the organic qualities present within the works. The physical structure of the pieces allows the viewer to see both the outside and inside of each piece, focusing the eye on the shape of the sculpture itself. Different sections and different works imply different aspects of a body; larger works tend to evoke the idea of a skeletal structure or an abandoned shell. The translucency of the tracing paper also allows light to emphasize the thinness of the materials themselves, giving the impression that each cluster is a cell membrane being viewed through a microscope. The resulting series of works is decidedly based on nature and the body.
Mary Button Durell has recently also begun a series that introduces colour into her sculptures. To see these works in progress or for more information on her, click here.