Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wonder: A Paper Cutting Exhibit in Lutry, Switzerland

"When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms."
Mary Oliver, "When Death Comes."

My paper cuttings celebrate the connection between the past and the present in Swiss paper cutting, creativity, nature, and wonder. Many of life's simple pleasures are so precious because they are ephemeral: a sunny day, a storm, singing birds, flowers, and childhood.

Artists, scientists, and nature-lovers stop to look closely and observe these changes and the inherent beauty of all growing things, and whenever they do, they see miracles. Amazement is the reward for looking contemplatively.

When I am full of wonder and amazement, my heart overflows with gratitude, a form of prayer. Seasons remind us constantly of the patterns of growth and change, dormancy and rebirth in our own lives.

Whenever you see darkness or trouble in my art, and there is some, always look for the light in buildings, which shows you where home is, and where people are gathered. Look for the flowers which come up after the long, cold winter.

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of birds, the ebb and flowtides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."
Rachel Carson, "The Sense of Wonder."

"It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life perpetuating itself through all eternity, to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe,which we can dimly perceive, and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifested in nature.:
Albert Einstein

Beth Curtin
September 11-October 10

Friday September 11 from 5:00 to 8:00

Children's Vernissage with workshop
Friday September 18 from 5:00 to 6:30

Espace OZart
Rue de Voisinand 15
1095 Lutry

Monday, April 12, 2010


Girl In Frog Costume

In my newest work, Disguises, begun in 2007, my fascination with how people present themselves continues.  I have begun a new series of large drawings using photographs I took of children wearing costumes at Halloween, at costume contests, and at home playing with their costume boxes.  I am most interested in what children will spontaneously choose from their costume boxes, without any help from parents, and the costumes older children will create by themselves.  Concealment and display, beauty and strength, heroism and aggression, creativity and conformism- through costume children can experiment with different types of adult identity and power, explore traditional and contemporary masculinity and femininity, and imagine how it would feel to be someone or something different.  Masks add a layer of mystery to some of the portraits.

The portraits are drawn in artist's colored pencil on Strathmore 500 bristol board.

Lawrence of Arabia

Boy in Costume

Polar Bear Spider Man


Snow White

Boy In Fish Costume

Sea Monster

Bat Man

The Thayer Street Project

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

In The Thayer Street Project, a portrait series which I started in 2004, my subjects were teenagers and college student posed in front of their favorite shop or restaurant on Thayer Street, the busy commercial street near Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.  I had teenagers at the time and was fascinated with how teens present themselves to the world through their choices of clothes, hair color, make-up, and jewelry.  I viewed their dress, in some cases, as costume, and their poses sometimes part of an image which they were projecting.  Their faces suggest potential, introspection, vulnerability, independence, and mystery.  I approached each portrait with a desire to know the model as well as I could through the hours I spent drawings them, and to present a view of our time: the fashions, buildings, signage, advertisements, shop windows, cars, street furniture, posters, and other evocative aspects of the Thayer Street scene.

Each portrait in The Thayer Street Project measures about 23" by 29".  I used artist's colored pencils on Strathmore 500 bristol board.

Jonah and Andrew

Girl on Thayer Street