Cut Up/Cut Out


Cut Up/Cut Out 
January 21-March 4, 2020 

Reception: Thursday, January 23, 5:30-7:30 pm

From an excavated comic book to a hand-cut decorative rubber tire, the works in Cut Up/Cut Out use historic techniques of paper cutting to reflect contemporary concerns in transformative ways. 

Cut paper art practices span the globe, from kamikiri, the cut paper performance art of Japan, to the elaborate papel picado of Mexico. Cut Up/Cut Out features over fifty artists working across the United States and internationally, who repurpose such things as leaves, Tyvek, maps, plywood, and cash register rolls to reimagine the world. Cultural pride, historical memory, environmental crises, consumerism, and scientific visualization are all potent sources of inspiration. The artists employ a variety of methods to produce their work, from cutting shapes by hand using X-acto knives, to creating intricate, large-scale works with computer-aided design software and plasma cutters.

Cut Up/Cut Out was organized by Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions at the Bedford Gallery. Her interest in the art of papercutting began almost twenty years ago and this exhibition was developed after years of research into the history of the art form and an exploration of how contemporary artists are using and adapting the practice today. In her curators’ statement, Lederer writes: “Visually diverse, the artworks in Cut Up/Cut Out range in size from an intimate three inches to sprawling and complex installations, and they represent an abundance of conceptual ideas. The artists address our relationship with nature and environmental issues, personal and political narratives, architecture, fantasy, and abstract or formal ideas—with many intersections.” 

Artist Nikki Rosato of Washington D.C. creates delicate portraits by repurposing old road maps. The maps used are important as they represent a place of some meaning to the person in the portrait. She remarks, “From our beginning to the present, there has been a series of key happenings in each of our lives that has led to where we stand at this very moment.” These happenings in our lives are often tied to a place. After selecting the maps and working from a photo of the individual, Rosato then carefully and meticulously removes the land masses from these maps leaving only the roads and waterways behind. The end result looks fragile like lace but is quite strong, as maps are designed to be folded and unfolded many times.

Carmen Lomas Garza was born in Texas in 1948 and was inspired by the Chicano Movement of the 1960’s to create works about the lives of Mexican Americans. Her piece, Haciendo Papel Picado / Making Paper Cutouts is inspired by traditional Mexican tissue paper cutouts that her mother and grandmother made for special family celebrations. 

In her curators’ statement, Lederer says “[Lomas Garza] saw the need to create images that would elicit recognition and appreciation among Mexican Americans, both adults and children, while at the same time serve as a source of education for others not familiar with her culture. The process of creating these images has been a salve for the wounds of discrimination and racism in the public schools of her youth.”

Formerly a painter, Charles Clary began layering then cutting, carving, smashing and altering layers of paper and sheetrock to create works that explore disease and how we cope with trauma. Clary lost both parents to cancer and according to Lederer he uses “…these losses to show how we fill the void and how we choose to display our beautiful scars. The paper-cutting method speaks to this concept through a medium that is fragile and ridged, similar to memories and disease.”


Lederer writes, “The process and art of cutting—complex, delicate, beautiful, tedious, consuming, frustrating, and awesome—can be seen as a metaphor for life itself and the acts of creating: in art, work, and family.” 

Poetic and powerful, the works in Cut Up/Cut Out will astonish, delight, and intrigue.

For a complete list of artists in Cut Up/Cut Out and links to their websites please visit this page.

View the Cut Up/Cut Out virtual tour:

Also on view:

Your Blood + Mine:
A Meditation on Identity

Justin Li ‘20
Lamont Gallery Foyer
January 23-February 27, 2020
Artist’s Talk: Friday, January 24, 7-8 pm

For more information about this exhibition, please visit our Student Projects Page.


Elizabeth Kostina ‘20

Academy Building/Class of 1945 Library
February 10-28, 2020
Lunchtime Artist Talk: Wednesday, February 26, 12:45pm

For more information about this exhibition, please visit our Student Projects Page.


More information about these programs and other events can be found on our Events page.



Cut Up/Cut Out was organized by Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions, Bedford Gallery Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, California.


Lamont Gallery programs are supported in part by the Michael C. Rockefeller ’56 Visiting Artists Fund



Image credits:

Top, left to right: Justine Khamara, Orbital Spin Trick 3, 2013, UV print on laser-cut, plywood, MDF base. Mayumi Hamanaka, Aboveground 2 (Tokyo, 1945, Off Highway 5, CA, 2010), 2012, Archival pigment print. Nikki Rosato, Karen: Matawan, NJ, 2016, Hand-cut road map, Courtesy of Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA. 
Nikki Rosato, Karen: Matawan, NJ, 2016, Hand-cut road map, Courtesy of Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA. Carmen Lomas Garza, Haciendo Papel Picado / Making Paper Cutouts, 1998, Paper cutout. Charles Clary, Double Diddle Daddle Bereavement Movement #1, 2016, Hand-cut paper and wallpaper on distressed drywall.