14 Aug 2022

Circular papercuts come Full Circle

Full Circle is an exhibition of circular papercuts by artist Paul Bokslag in the Upstairs Gallery at the Watergate Theatre from October 26 to November 30.

Full Circle is an exhibition of circular papercuts by artist Paul Bokslag in the Upstairs Gallery at the Watergate Theatre from October 26 to November 30.

Paul Bokslag was born and raised in the Netherlands and studied Art Therapy at the University of Applied Science in Leiden. Having completed a practical period in Camphill in Gorey, Co. Wexford, he permanently moved to Ireland in 1999. He was involved in setting up the inclusive KCAT Art & Study Centre in Callan, where he still teaches. In the last couple of years he was able to dedicate more time to his own practice, resulting in participation in a number of group shows and solo exhibitions in the Signal Arts Centre in Bray, Waterford’s Garter Lane Arts Centre and the Abhainn Rí Festival in Callan. In 2011 he was a co-recipient of the Healthway International Arts & Health Fellowship with DADAA in Western Australia.

Paul’s fascination with papercuts evolved from a session of cutting paper snowflakes with children about five years ago. When he realized that he was still playing with the scissors long after the children had left, he knew he had to take it a bit further. Soon he started using a cutting mat and an x-acto knife, regularly replacing the blade, but still working ordinary sheets of paper. Being a very accessible medium, papercuts are deeply rooted in folk culture around the world. In his own work he tried to move away from direct representation, with often not more than the hint of a horizon or the title of a piece as a reference.

“The making process is that of drawing with a knife. It is intuitive, slow, labour intensive and at times meditative. I work with ideas but without elaborate preliminary sketches and mostly not more than a single pencil line as a guide. Working freehand with a knife allows me to move away from the physicality of the line and to focus on the language of gesture, movement and form. In a way the papercuts are a continuing exploration of these elements. By making small additions over a longer period, the pieces develop organically and gain an energy of their own. Mistakes are taken on board and become part of the final piece.

“I like to keep the momentum going and try to spend some time in the studio every day, even if it is just a few minutes. Being in the studio is being away from the hectic schedule of everyday life. And even though my working process is intense, I experience this time as reinvigorating. I enjoy experimenting with the cut as a boundary between positive and negative space and to play with the contrast between foreground and background. I love the simplicity and fragile nature of papercuts and the fact that the hand of the maker can be found in every single line,” he said. For more information on the artist see:

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