Artist Michael Velliquette is known for transforming ordinary paper into three-dimensional installations, using little more than scissors and glue. His latest exhibition, “Loose Strife,” on show at the Edgewood College Art Gallery, continues his transformative expertise. Creating work with his collaborator, poet Quan Barry, Velliquette uses his signature cuts and snips to create an installation inspired by a trilogy of Greek tragedies called “The Oresteia.”
The Oresteia was written in the fifth century by Aeschylus and addresses imagery of brutality, sorrow and revenge. Using only paper, ink, graphite and acrylic, Velliquette has turned the gallery into a scene of symbolic and literal carnage. Ashen bodies unfurl from ribbons of cut paper on the gallery floor, with hands cut from a single piece of paper reaching up in pleading agony. Mobiles with paper eye, hand, and blood droplets are cut and hung from the ceiling, dangling and moving with the natural air current of the room.
Perhaps the most striking imagery are Velliquette’s wall pieces. Singular sheets of paper in all sizes are mounted to the wall and colored with abstract patterns with paint and graphite. The artist then liberates part of the page, cutting it away to reveal human forms, hands and arms. Once cut, the figures flop and fall, as if they are reaching toward the floor, or exhausted in lifelessness.
Velliquette has the innate ability to create movement, feeling and life out of paper just with his intricate cuts. The gorgeous collaboration with Quan Barry is on display at the Edgewood College Art Gallery in Madison, Wisconsin until December 10th.