Lee Emma Running, an associate professor of art at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, was recently featured in the exhibition, Paper Architecture, at the Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa. Her installation is titled Pare.
The wallpaper was printed on Photo Tex from LexJet on an Epson Stylus Pro 9600. The inkjet-printed wall mural perfectly contrasts and combines with the hand-cut red satin for a piece that’s all about patterns and how they play on the eye.
“I work a lot from the natural world, looking at things that are similar at a microscopic and macroscopic scale. I’m interested in similarities between veins in a leaf, veins in our body, and river systems seen from space,” explains Running. “The drawing for the wallpaper background came from a microscope scan of a leaf veins that I traced, painted, and digitally tiled to make the pattern. I printed the wallpaper pattern onto Photo Tex and then backed it with red satin. Using a hot knife I hand cut out a lacy network of traced sheep wool from both materials. In the gallery I covered the wall with red satin and then mounted the negative spaces from the cut-outs onto the satin field to increase the illusion that the wallpaper is peeling away from a red ground.”
Since Pare was one of Running’s largest installations, she was looking for something that would make paneling the prints across 47 feet and 14 feet tall simple and removal easy.
“I was interested in Photo Tex because it can come off the wall multiple times and be repositioned. The pattern is very small and had to match up seamlessly, so the ability to reposition it a lot is helpful,” says Running. “It performed really well and I was told it came down easily. Pare was sized specifically for this exhibit, but because I can re-use the material I think I will be able to re-purpose the elements for another installation. I’m always looking for ways to re-use material so that it doesn’t end up in a landfill.”