The Artlink Gallery is about to be taken by storm. Currently hanging is a retrospective show that is safe to say will bring in hundreds of people before it runs its course.
The artist is Maurice Papier, an enthusiastically supported painter and educator who planted seeds of thought in countless students. Some may say his influence helped create the foundation of the regional art scene. Many impressionable minds passed through his classroom as he taught young artists at the University of Saint Francis from 1972-2004. Several of those artists are still practicing in the area, making art, seasoned with what was learned from Papier.
Sixty-two works by Papier hang in the gallery, enough pieces to fill the walls of the entire space. As a bonus, several past students, hand-selected by Artlink, show alongside the artist. The pairing allows viewers to discover the ripple affect that was stirred by Papier’s years of teaching.
Artlink is a suitable venue for such a show, not only for it’s lighting, space and location, but also for the relationship between the gallery and the artist. Back when Bruce Linker, who gave up his apartment’s walls to showcase art, housed the gallery, Papier was the very first artist to hang work in the space. It is only fitting that his retrospective be held at the gallery’s current location on Main Street. Add the fact that three friends – Rick Cartwright, Betty Fishman and Karen Thompson – curated the show, and the whole celebration comes full circle. The show is a true retrospective.
“Some of this stuff goes back, jeepers, 10 years,” says Papier.
His works may span the past 10 years, but his history as an artist runs much deeper.
“When I was in high school, I was going to be an engineer,” says Papier who took all the mechanical drawing classes he could. His adept ability to draw caught the eye of his instructor.
“He liked me so much he took me to International Harvester to watch what the engineers did. When I saw, I knew that was not what I wanted.”
Papier went off to college, choosing art as his major, “Because it was the thing I least disliked to do.”
Within six months he was hooked and the soul of an artist was unleashed.
While mechanical engineering didn’t grab his attention, geometry and trigonometry are still highly identifiable influences of his work. He is often told his pieces reference buildings and that even his abstract pieces are architectural.
Papier explains, “All my stuff is based around Indiana landscapes. They can be really pretty realistic like the Tennessee Bridge or they can get very abstracted.”
His paintings reflect a collection of landscape photographs Papier has amassed. Shot with his own camera he was careful not to glorify his subject.
“I made sure they weren’t that spectacular because the Indiana landscape really isn’t … I’d feel like a fool painting mountains and oceans.”
Interpretations of landscapes, cityscapes, outer space and a lifetime of memories swirl about in Papier’s head. Bits and pieces end up on his canvas.
Careful viewers will notice the small figures often tucked between the lines and shapes of his compositions. The intent of the figures is to give his pieces scale and to remind us how huge the universe really is.
“That little guy on the tightrope is trying to get through the craziness of life. It’s so unpredictable, and it’d be awful if everything were just the same.”
The idea for using small figures to illustrate scale came from a childhood interest in building model airplanes.
“I was a nerdy little guy. I’d fly them around lamps and pretend they were trees. All that ties into my work today.”
His dreamy sense of wonder is heavily reflected his paintings. Tiny figures dancing in night skies while balanced on thin lines that intersect with shapes and planes of brilliant color give us a window into his interpretation of time, space and life.
“The night skies fascinated me when I was a kid. Even the idea of eternity used to just scare me to death. The distances between stars – some may not even be there once we see them. The distance, all that stuff, it’s mind-boggling.”
Papier spends about 50 to 60 hours contemplating and creating each painting, much of that is done during the late hours of the night. His fascination with the night sky started in childhood and remains with him today. He feels most at ease to create at night and often has to stop himself from working, knowing he will be too ramped up to sleep if he lets the creative juices flow too long.
Brilliant color, line and shape are three dominant elements of Papier’s work.
Shapes combine to create architectural forms. Lines direct the eye across, up and down and off the picture plane, leaving the viewer to wonder what lies beyond. What else is in this artist’s mind? Color is bold, whether it is a dark background supporting a field of warm-colored shapes, or a bright yellow field of paint that makes the entire composition pop.
Papier thinks deeply about color, but he prefers to keep things simple.
“I only use blue, reds, some yellow, black and white and burnt sienna,” he explains. “I only have about six or seven tubes. That’s all I need. If I had more I’d just get confused.”
A recent piece titled, “Ornamental Tower,” grabs one’s attention with a bold field of yellow.
“I just started to use yellow. Now I’m kind of fascinated with it. Yellow doesn’t cover well at all. That’s five or six coats of paint to get it that solid. It’s a pain to use, but it’s an interesting color. It activates things. It’s got a lot of punch.”
Papier’s pieces are most often a combination of painting and collage. Look closely at the thin lines on his works and one will discover that they are not painted features, but rather layers of paper. With a hand as skilled as a surgeon’s, Papier cuts amazingly thin strips of magazine pages with a knife to create the colorful lines within his work.
“Sometimes I’ll sit down and go through magazines for a couple of hours looking for the right color,” says Papier. His eye for detail matches his meticulous hand and after 15 years of practice, cutting razor sharp lines with smooth edges is second nature. “Sometimes one will be a hair thicker than the other. I’ve tried all kinds of knives but what it comes down to, eyeballing works as well as any gadget that I’ve ever found.”
Painting, cutting paper and dreaming are enough to keep Papier’s mind satisfied.
“I’m never bored because of this stuff,” he says. “It keeps me completely occupied. It’s a great thing. It’s much more comfortable now that I’m retired because I’ve got all this time. My thoughts can move along with hurry. I really thank God that I’ve got painting.”
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Art on Broadway — Tours of 5 downtown venues featuring art from Alexandra Hall, Julie Wall, Peter Lupkin, Daniel Dienelt, Knotodday, Kay Gregg, Terry Ratliff and St. Monci, 5 p.m. Saturday, March 25, Broadway Street, Fort Wayne, free, 417-5925
Beer, Bourbon, Bacon Festival — Unlimited beer sampling from national and regional craft breweries, fine bourbon sampling and bacon inspired treats, 6-9 p.m. Saturday, March 25 (5-9 p.m. VIP), Marquis and Three Rivers Ballrooms, Hotel Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, $35-$75, 484-0411
An Evening with Author Tom Frank — Author of What’s the Matter with Kansas talks about his new book; hors d’oeuvres, lecture and book signing included in admission, 6 p.m. Saturday, March 25, CS3 Hideaway, Fort Wayne, $15 plus donation, 602-1008
Puttin’ on the Ritz —Active 20-30 club fundraiser with live music from Chris Worth and Company, gourmet edibles, wine and beer, live and silent auctions; black tie optional, 7 p.m. Saturday, March 25, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, $50-$90, 450-2844
Shipshewana on the Road — Food, craft and primitives show and sale, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, March 25 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, March 26, Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, $4, 483-1111
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Big Dick and the Penetrators — Classic rock at Navy Club, Ship 245, New Haven, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 493-4044
Brat Pack — Rat Pack/variety at Nick's Martini & Wine Bar, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 482-6425
Cougar Hunter — 80s glam rock at Vinnie's Bar, Decatur, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $5, 729-2225
Ellsworth Sharp — Neofolk at Friendly Fox, Fort Wayne, 6:30-8:30 p.m., no cover, 745-3369
FBC Band w/Sheba — Variety/Music and Memories benefit at C2G Music Hall, Fort Wayne , 8 p.m., $7-$15, 426-6434
Fireball Matinee — Rock at Hideaway Lounge, Bluffton, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 824-0455
Fleshwounds — Rock at Hamilton House, Hamilton, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 488-3344
Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra — Funk at Dupont Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m., cover, 483-1311
Fu5ion — Variety at Mitchell's Sports Bar & Neighborhood Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $3, (260) 387-5063
The Illegals — Rock at O'Sullivan's Italian Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 422-5896
Joe Stabelli — Jazz at Don Hall's Gas House, Fort Wayne, 5:45-9 p.m., no cover, 426-3411
John Curran & Renegade — Country at Alley Sports Bar, Pro Bowl West, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 483-4421
Johnny Freakin' Xcitor — Country rock at Beamer's Sports Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., no cover, 625-1002
Kat Bowser — Variety at Don Hall's Guesthouse, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 489-2524
The Orange Opera w/Mickyle James — Rock at Brass Rail, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., $5, 267-5303
Prime Suspects — Variety at American Legion Post 499, Fort Wayne, 8-11 p.m., no cover, 483-1368
Quincy and the Q-Tet feat. Phil Potts — Rock/variety at Downtown Eatery & Spirits, Warsaw, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, (574) 267-6000
Second Nature — Pop at Crazy Pinz, Fort Wayne, 8-11 p.m., no cover, 490-2695
Shannon Persinger Quartet — Jazz/variety at Club Soda, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 426-3442
Todd Harrold & Nick Bobay Duo — R&B/blues/variety at American Legion Post 148, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., no cover, 423-4751
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Ambitious Blondes Karaoke — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Beat Karaoke & DJ — Variety at American Legion Post 296, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m. , no cover, 456-2988
Bucca Karaoke w/Bucca — Variety at Tower Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-6310
Classic City Karaoke w/Bryan Lee — Karaoke at Corner Pocket Tavern, Fremont, 10 p.m., no cover, 495-9255
Classic City Karaoke w/Tobin — Karaoke at Toad's Tavern, Monroeville, 10 p.m., no cover, 623-6226
DJ Shawn — Karaoke/variety at Club Paradise, Angola, 10 p.m., no cover, 833-7082
Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10:30 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Brian — Variety at AJ's Bar and Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., , 434-1980
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Josh — Variety at Arena Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 557-1563
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Chevvy's, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-4748
House DJ — Variety at Early Bird's Ultra Lounge, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 483-1979
House DJ — Variety at Flashback on the Landing, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 422-5292
Karaoke — Variety at Crooner's Karaoke Bar, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-3 a.m., no cover, 486-1979
Live DJ — Variety at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
Shooting Star Prod. w/Barbie — Variety at Uncle Lou's Steel Mill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-5787
Shooting Star Prod. w/Stu — Variety at Pike's Pub, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 478-6200
Sidecar Gary's Karaoke & DJ — Karaoke at Kville Pub, Kendallville, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 348-1677
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The Children’s Hour — Lillian Hellman’s seminal drama about bigotry perpetuated against the LGBT community and how easily a lie can spread, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25, First Presbyterian Theater, Fort Wayne, $12-$20, 426-7421 ext. 121
Getting Sara Married — Comedy about an unmarried lawyer in need of a husband (according to her aunt), 7 p.m. dinner, 8 p.m. curtain, Saturday, March 25, Arena Dinner Theatre, Fort Wayne, $40 (includes dinner & show), 424-5622
One Foot in the Gravy — Howard Kingkade’s comedy and winner of Fort Wayne Civic Theatre’s Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival, 8 p.m. Saturday, March 25; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26, Arts United Center, Fort Wayne, $10-$20, 422-4226
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22nd Annual Valentine’s Invitational — Works from local and national artists, Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment thru March 31, Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 426-6568
2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards — Award-winning works from northern Indiana and northwest Ohio middle and high school students, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Afros: A Celebration of African Hair by Michael July — Contemporary photography exhibit by Brooklyn author/photographer, daily thru April 14, D’Agostino Art Gallery, Indiana Tech, Fort Wayne, 399-8626
An Artful Spring — Works by Gwen Gutwein, Patricia Weiss, Austin Cartwright and more, Tuesday-Saturday thru March 31, Crestwoods Frame Shop & Gallery, Roanoke, 672-2080
Decatur Sculpture Tour — 31 original sculptures and 15 permanent exhibits on display, walking tour maps available, thru April 1, Decatur, free, 724-2605
Echolilia — Works from Timothy Archibald and his autistic son, Eli, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Entropy — Daniel Swartz solo exhibition explores relationship between death and mourning through combinations of mythology, mathematics, multi-dimensional physics and pop culture, Monday-Saturday thru April 1, Jennifer Ford Art, Fort Wayne, 740-1309
Diane Allen Groenert — Exhibition of local artist’s Downtown Series and new works, Monday-Saturday thru June 24, West Central Microcreamery & Cafe, Fort Wayne, 415-9293
Expressions of Existence — An exhibition of works by artists through history, including Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Francisco Goya and others whose works have been influenced by disabilities, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Fort Wayne Photographers Club — Exhibition featuring local photographers, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 30, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Garden Party — Garden-themed works in a variety of mediums from over 30 local artists, Monday-Saturday thru March 31, Orchard Gallery of Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 436-0927
Generations: A View of Who Was Who — Works by Romare Bearden, Kara Walker, Alma Thomas, Jacob Lawrence and other African-American artists, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
A Mary Poppins Garden Party — Child-oriented garden exhibit, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 1, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Moments in Time: Reflecting on the Human Spirit — Elizabeth Opalenik photographs from her recent Amish series A Journey Home and her Reflecting on the Edge exhibition, daily thru March 26, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
RAW. Untamed. Unashamed. Visions of Freedom. — Abstract romanticist works in acrylics and epoxy from Kristy Jahn, Fridays and Saturday-Thursday by appointment thru March 25, The Gallery at Pranayoga, Fort Wayne, 423-9642
Sharon — An exhibition of Leon Borensztein photographs chronicling the struggles he faced raising his severely disabled daughter, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Wabash County Schools Exhibition — Works by high school art students, daily thru April 16, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102