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The Beauty of Absence:
Paper Cutouts From the Museum Collection


Selections from the McAllen International Museumís collection of paper cutouts from China, Poland, Mexico, and South Texas will be on exhibit starting Thursday, August 19. This is a rare exhibition of some of the finest examples of this unusual art form. It will remain on display in the North Gallery through November 21.

Chinese paper cuts developed in the twentieth century from embroidery patterns. Gradually these patterns came to be appreciated as an art form in their own right. Increased recognition and the growing popularity of this craft encouraged a broadening of subject matter. The paper-cut artist cuts directly landscapes, people, animals, flowers, birds, and insects, including some geometrical patterns without a preliminary sketch. 

Complicated patterns may require the use of scissors, different size knives, gouges and punches. Sometimes needles are used to produce fine dotted lines for small general details once the outline has been cut out. For mass production, many sheets of very fine thin paper are cut at one time.

In Mexico, sheets of tissue paper with cut designs are used in festivals with motifs that correspond to the occasion being celebrated. This craft is done all over the country, but the states of Puebla, Hidalgo, Jalisco, and YucatŠn are particularly noted for their papel picado.

Two pieces in this exhibition are by South Texas artists One is a lithograph by Carmen Lomas Garza which is based on a traditional cut paper design. The other is a cut paper design for a wrought iron grille done for the Museum by the late Xavier Gorena.

There are 38 works in this special exhibition drawn entirely from the Museumís own collection. This is an unusual exhibition that you will not want to miss.


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