Nina Pops sent me, this week, several photos of new work. The geometric forms are still evident, various and complicated and as simple as forms in the context of other forms can be. New is the cutout. Nina has put knife to paper, augmenting and subtracting from what she has done with pencils and paper.
“I want to move beyond the surface,” she wrote. “Emptiness. The void. Cutout. But still with the forms. The odyssey continues.”
These new works cast shadows. Interior shadows. They feature lines without color. The pressure of a sharp blade competes with the rasp of a sharp pencil. The paper takes on color and responds with texture to the pencil. It falls away under the knife.
In the work above, a work of mostly horizontal lines—thin lines except for the two thick offset conjoined rectangles to the upper right and the rather thick cutout to the top left—the cutouts work like the drawn lines, casting shadows with an intermediary hue beyond or between the black and grey-blue colors of the pencil. The thick cutout T that trails off to the bottom right is buttressed by the only two vertical pencil lines, each footed for support. Presence is not presence without absence. There is no absence without presence.
The cutouts are surprising for a viewer expecting new variations of the two-dimensional sort.
And yet they are not too surprising. The departure from the surface is slight, intimate, more a hint than an proclamation.
In this second work, the cutout right angle nestles into the right-angle black bedstead.
Or the solid black line that spans the paper’s width rises vertically to block a similar but potentially severing sweep of the knife.
Or the cutout softens the phallic assertion of the black line.
The new, third dimension doesn’t raise the question of “or.” It asks, rather, the question of “and.”
The paper. The pencil. And the knife.
It’s a ménages à trois more dangerous than the familiar pas de deux, and in its new delicacy (the cut paper!) it is powerful.