In this seminar, Pamela See will be presenting a series of artworks that integrate traditional Chinese papercutting with post-digital methods of fabrication. Contemporary methods of production employed include laser cutting, CNC routers, and data projection. Papercutting is a technique of image-making that predates the invention of modern pulp strained paper in China in 105 CE. The earliest example dates back to the late Shang - early Spring Autumn period (1200 BCE - 650 BCE). The Sun and Bird Gold Foil, unearth in the Jinsha Ruins in Chengdu, depicts four birds lifting the sun into the sky at dawn and retrieving it at dusk. The object was, like many articles removed from this site, a magico-religious artefact. Papercutting, in China, was a manifestation of a process that structuralist Claude Levi-strauss described as totemism that was both reflective of an admiration of nature and an attempt to harness it. A papercut of a rooster, for example, was thought to protect a dwelling. Cutting a likeness of the animal was, at the time, at the forefront of technological development. Likewise, between the eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries the cutting of a silhouette was an eminent form of portraiture. Pamela will discuss her contemporary paper cutting techniques and illustrate these with examples from her recent exhibitions around the world.
Pamela See is presently undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy at the Queensland College of Art. She has a Master of Business (Communication Studies) from the Queensland University of Technology. Her compositions are allegories featuring a trichotomy of invasive, migratory and introduced species. Over the past twenty years, she has exhibited in Australia, China and the United States of America. This includes contributing towards exhibitions at The ISCP in New York, the Museum of Ordos in China, and the National Portrait Gallery in Australia. Collections to hold her artwork include the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, Parliament House (Canberra), Swire Properties (Beijing) and Chinachem (Hong Kong). She identifies as a Chinese Australian. Her papercutting technique bears resemblance to Foshan Papercutting, which endemic to the home province of her maternal grandparents Guangdong.