On Place

“Richelle Gribble’s pulp-painting series ‘On Place,’ translations of aerial photographs into vast fields of green and white, complicates assumptions about pictorial space and abstraction.”

— Corley Miller, Artillery Magazine

On Place, is a collection of artworks inspired by local material, landscape, and scenery of Yoshinogawa, Japan. Using traditional Japanese papermaking techniques combined with experiments in application and scale, these works respond directly to the land and resources surrounding the Awagami Factory. Each work is hand-formed by the artist from the Japanese paper known as “washi,” made from local plants grown alongside the Yoshino River and nearby mountains. The works in this exhibition include: 4 large-scale, pulp paintings made from kozo plant material; 52 illustrations of local plants, insects, animals, and objects on kozo and bamboo washi; 3 hand-woven spider webs embedded in kozo; 9 illustrations of spider threads made directly from cobwebs and ink on bamboo paper.

All materials and subject matter derive from the local environment and are made from the land’s resources. Smaller works on paper display pieces of the land, from collected spiderwebs to local artifacts, which create an intimate look at objects unique to a distinct environment. Illustrations of flowers, fruits, vegetables, insects, bikes, houses, and webs reflect the local ecology and objects from gift exchanges with community members. When displayed together as a grid, the mixed media illustrations act as a key alongside vast map-like pulp paintings, contextualizing these seemingly distant places.  

Giant pulp paintings feature various perspectives of the Tokushima Prefecture from an aerial view. Made from hand-colored and pressed kozo pulp with watercolor details, these tactile landscapes depict the land and shifting cloud patterns from above. By using Planet Explorer Beta, an online mapping service driven by data from CubeSat Dove satellites, daily images of the local area were captured in real-time and used as source material. Through this method, the pulp paintings reflect the time, place, and material of the location where the works originate. Seen from various vantage points, up close and from afar, On Place is an immersive mapping experience encapsulated in washi-based projects. All works were made at the fully-funded Awagami Factory Residency.

“Richelle’s combination of creative curiosity, the desire to fully embrace Japanese papermaking and her unbridled willingness to collaborate resulted in an impressive body of new paperworks.”

— Craig Anczelowitz, Director at Awagami International