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Carlo Fantin’s Paper-Cut Works Poke Fun at Our Devotion to Social Media

We huddle over our iPhone screens like the pious do over prayer candles and check our messages with a religious fervor. Our collective worship of technology was the starting point for Carlo Fantin's latest body of paper-cut works. The artist infuses Catholic iconography with designs and logos familiar to social media users, poking fun at contemporary society's devotion to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

We huddle over our iPhone screens like the pious do over prayer candles and check our messages with a religious fervor. Our collective worship of technology was the starting point for Carlo Fantin’s latest body of paper-cut works. The artist infuses Catholic iconography with designs and logos familiar to social media users, poking fun at contemporary society’s devotion to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Fantin creates his imagery through a subtractive process, carving away negative space to create web-like textures that evoke the stained glass windows in a cathedral. In one piece, a newly pregnant Virgin Mary talks to God via text. In another, she snaps a selfie with Baby Jesus in her lap. Through humor, Fantin makes us examine our 21st-century obsessions and habits.

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Toronto-based artist Christine Kim creates intricate collage pieces that explore the idea of boundaries — both in her choice of materials and narratives. She looks to investigate the idea of displacement and how it borderlines transient and permanent conditions. She specializes in illustration, installations and sculpture.
Italian artist Carlo Fantin (featured here) uses the Catholic imagery from his devout upbringing as a metaphor for contemporary rituals. In particular, his hand-cut paper works address our unrelenting use of social media, where he likens bloggers and the media to shepherds whom we follow like a flock of sheep. His current exhibition, "U Have 2 Name Him Jesus #Annunciation" at Mercury 20 in Oakland, CA continues this play on religious iconography.
Isobelle Ouzman is committed to working with reclaimed materials. The Seattle, Washington-based artist upcycles old hardcovers for her "Altered Books" series, which combines illustration and sculpture to create enchanted hollows inside of discarded titles. With a blade, Ouzman cuts away layers of pages, converting them into passageways into mysterious worlds. She is drawn to organic shapes and often decorates her "Altered Books" with opulent flora. The books become magical forests that evoke the ways reading fiction allows one to dive into an alternate universe.
For their current group show, "Paper Cuts," San Francisco's Spoke Art invited a diverse assembly of artists who transform paper into fantastical visions with the help of a blade. Charles Clary, for instance, builds up layers of colorful sheets of paper cut into organic shapes that resemble neon bacteria colonies sprawling across the gallery wall. Clary's loud, vibrant sculptural work is balanced out by the monochromatic shadow boxes of Hari and Deepti, a duo that cuts out narrative scenes from layers of white paper, using the interplay of light and shadow to illuminate their characters. Yulia Brodskaya's delicate works utilize colorful paper in a collage-like style; the artist glues different thin, delicate pieces to create ornamental patterns. Her works for the show are small yet visually impactful. "Paper Cuts" is on view through May 24. Take a look at some work from the show after the jump.

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