Paper Fortress

Pterodactyl Gallery

Showing March 15 – April 22

By Leslie Friedman 


Paper Fortress is part of Fiber Philadelphia 2012 and the only show devoted to paper as a fiber medium. Traditional fiber art tends to be associated with textiles, weaving, and wearables, but many artists favor the term material studies to expand the scope of the field. A number of artists in Paper Fortress experiment with paper in order to make new sculptural and two-dimensional forms.

Standout pieces in the show include Lisa March’s undulating sculptural formations made from orange, apple, and egg crates. The found cardboard is cut up and stitched into organic forms that reach out from the wall and the floor. In her wall-mounted sculptures, Carol Cole makes pulp out of white supremacist literature and combines it with found objects to make seemingly symbolic shields. The sculptural pieces in the show best embody the idea of paper as structure, but there are a several beautiful two-dimensional pieces as well. Alexis Granwell’s Eternal City (from the inside out) and Karen Hardy’s Foliate both show how that the surface of paper, when treated with materials such as wax, mica, and rust, or manipulated through the printing press, can transform into a material unrecognizable as run-of-the-mill paper.


Leslie Friedman is an artist and co-founder of the member-based gallery NAPOLEON.  She teaches studio and discussion-based courses at Temple University, Muhlenberg College, and the University of the Arts.  She was also named a fellow in the Career Development Program of the Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA).