Modella Art Gallery invites the community to visit the current call to artist exhibit “Paper, Book, Found.” The artwork featured plays with the emotional connection of tangible objects and memories using recycled materials, and the new life that the artists give these discarded possessions. Modella will be hosting an artist reception on Friday, February 17th from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm, and an artist talk on Saturday, February 25th. 

Three of the artists - Chris Whittey, Kris Newlin, and Mo Wassell – gave insight to what their pieces and the use of recycled objects in art mean within the exhibit. 

Chris Whittey, a recent Stillwater resident, submitted his work for this exhibit in support of Modella and its mission to share art with the community. His featured pieces are made from shredded American currency that he obtained through navigating the red tape of the Federal Reserve Bank. Whittey uses this “residue” to comment on Marx’s teaching that money is the manner of communication between people who are alienated from what they are purchasing and who they are purchasing it from. When the money is shredded, it loses its value and recycles out of the system and becoming material waste. By turning the shreds into art, Whittey is giving a new life to the material in a philosophical way that lends itself to the message of repurpose in “Paper, Book, Found”. 

Kris Newlin uses her experience as an art therapist and professional counselor to create work that has a healing power through the use of found objects. Two of her pieces featured in “Page, Book, Found” are altered books, as well as a mixed media piece utilizing metal and scrap wood. She is inspired by the way that memories create emotional attachments to material possessions, and how one item could be destined for a landfill but instead, by the artist’s choice, is repurposed to be in such places of beauty like a gallery. Newlin demonstrates with her work featured in “Paper, Book, Found” that, even when something seems damaged or broken, it can be repurposed into something of new beauty with time and care. 

Mo Wassell’s contributions to “Paper, Book, Found” capture the whimsical element of memories and the benefits of restoring forgotten objects. Whether she finds components of her mixed media pieces through a collection of her great grandmother’s possessions or while thrifting, Wassell listens to the story that wants to be told through the found objects. This exhibit is exactly Wassell’s area of interest, and she has had a love for finding purpose and reinvention in both herself and in once forgotten materials. With her use of recovered items, she hopes that her work allows a moment of introspection for the audience of “Paper, Book, Found” and remind us that being lost is not permanent, that we are always reviving ourselves – just like these once outcasted objects.

Alongside these artists are works of similar themes from Jena G. Kodesh, Rachele Cromer, Heidi Hoffer, Lea Ann Blake, Miriam Young, BJ Willett, Janet Funk, and Morgan & Sidney Brown. A visit to “Paper, Book, Found” supports local artists and Modella Art Gallery’s mission to provide a thoughtful space for art and community.