cut it out

June 14, 2021

Kim Bartelt’s paper paintings are soothing to look at. It’s the palette –– pastel pink, terracotta, oyster, sand and grey –– and the simple cutout shapes that make them so easy on the eye. Bartelt has worked with paper for several years; “I like its fragility, the noise it makes when you touch it, the transparency. It always lets you see what’s behind it, it never covers up completely like real paint does. It has a luminosity to it, and also a chalkiness, which I enjoy a lot.” Recycled materials such as fabric and silk paper often make it into her work, also. “I definitely think that these materials, carrying a history of their own, add to an artwork,” says the Berlin-based artist. Even the canvases have a history, and some have travelled as far as Beijing, Ethiopia and Morocco. “I loved the idea of their travels; there are small dents and marks on the canvas and the frames, it’s beautiful how life has left its marks.” Bartelt likens her process to a puzzle. Her studio floor is covered in paper cutouts, and very often it’s the leftovers from a cutout that inspire her next canvas. “One series of works is actually called ‘Puzzles’ as I move these shapes around until I find the right place and relation to the surface and the other shapes.” Have a look at her work. And her home/studio.

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