WAUSAU — Three origami exhibitions, featuring innovative artwork by contemporary artists who transform two-dimensional paper into striking three-dimensional sculpture, open Dec. 7 at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.

Yuko Nishimura, Shine, 2008, washi (kyokushi). Photo courtesy of the artist.

“Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami” comprises bold sculpture, large-scale installations and conceptual artwork by nine international master folders representing a cross section of contemporary origami artists.

Two “Above the Fold” artists, Jiangmei Wu and Robert J. Lang, will share insights into origami innovations during presentations, a gallery walk, and workshops during artist residencies at the Woodson Art Museum, Jan. 18-19, and Feb. 22-23, respectively.

“FaunaFold” features origami creatures by artist and physicist Robert J. Lang, renowned for his complex, life-like figures of insects, birds and beasts and considered one of the world’s leading origami masters.

“Alchemy Unfolding” captures the delicate nature of paper folding in metal. Five sculptures by Santa Fe-based artist Kevin Box – three with collaborators Robert J. Lang and Michael G. LaFosse – capture the fragility of paper and symbolize the design potential inherent in every blank page.

The origami exhibitions remain on view through March 1, 2020.

Upcoming Artist Residency Programs

During the two “Above the Fold” artists’ Woodson Art Museum residencies in January and February, Jiangmei Wu and Robert J. Lang share techniques and inspiration for their artworks and the many ways that origami bridges math, science, and technology via design applications.

Origami Illuminations: Jiangmei Wu Artist Residency, Jan. 18 and 19

Jiangmei Wu’s large-scale, origami-inspired artworks are tangible results of her research into the intersections between engineering, mathematics, technology and the arts. During her residency, she leads a two-part studio workshop, guiding teens and adults in transforming paper into sculptural pendant lights.

  • Folded Light Sculpture: Teen & Adult Workshop, Jan. 18, 10 a.m.-noon and Jan. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. During this two-part workshop, artist and founder of Folded Light Art + Design Jiangmei Wu guides teens and adults through the process of folding repeated paper patterns to create structural forms that will serve as hanging light pendants. Total fee: $85 for members; $120 for non-members; includes all materials and Sunday lunch. To register, call the museum at 715-845-7010.
  • Guest Artist Presentation, Jan. 18, 1-2 p.m. “Above the Fold” artist and Indiana University Interior Design assistant professor Jiangmei Wu’s interdisciplinary approach to art making incorporates geometry, digital design, and sustainable materials to create striking forms in three-dimensional space. Learn how Jiangmei uses math and foldable origami techniques to transform flat sheets of paper into sculptural pendant lights and how she interprets crease patterns to create elegantly engineered public art installations and architectural structures.

Return to the Fold: Robert J. Lang Artist Residency, Feb. 22 and 23

Master origami artist Robert J. Lang merges mathematics with aesthetics to create mesmerizing forms – both of realistic creatures and modular, geometric forms. Lang, who set aside his day job as a laser physicist to focus on both the art and science of origami, is now considered one of the world’s leading origami masters, developing some of the most complex origami designs ever created.

During his residency, Lang leads a presentation, gallery walk, and two workshops for teens, adults and families. He also works with area educators, exploring the principles of STEAM education – integrating science, technology, engineering, art, and math – expressed in the origami exhibitions.

  • From Paper to Steel: Origami in Other Media, Feb. 22, 1-2 p.m. During this presentation, Lang describes his experiences, both technological and artistic, producing origami forms in diverse materials and scales – both on his own and in collaboration with sculptor Kevin Box – from the world’s smallest flapping bird to a 21-foot-tall steel Pegasus.
  • Origami Gallery Walk, Feb. 22, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Join origami master Lang for a visit to the “Above the Fold” and “FaunaFold” galleries for his impressions and insights into artwork on view.
  • Artistic Folding Techniques: Teen & Adult Workshop, Feb. 23, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Lang guides participating teens and adults through “wet-folding” techniques used to add dimension and definition to origami subjects. Previous origami experience is helpful, but not required. Fee: $35 for members; $50 for non-members; includes all materials. To register, call the museum at 715-845-7010.
  • Modular Origami: Family Workshop, Feb. 23, 2-5 p.m. Explore the genre of modular origami with guest artist Lang. Participants will fold and interlock multiple pieces of paper to create a three-dimensional polyhedra, a solid geometric figure consisting of multiple flat planes. Previous origami experience is helpful, but not required. Participants younger than age 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Fee: $35 for members and adult/child pairs; $50 for non-members and adult/child pairs; includes all materials. To register, call the museum at 715-845-7010.

For program details, check the events calendar at https://www.lywam.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Origami-EventsCalendar2019-20.pdf.

Programs Make Exhibition Connections

Museum programs for all ages will bring to life themes, artistic styles, and techniques from the origami exhibitions and the museum’s collection exhibitions. In Art Park – the museum’s interactive family gallery – all ages explore and create paper sculpture using origami folds, hand-held crimpers, and a variety of papers.

During Art 101: Above the Fold Gallery Walks, on Jan. 2, 5:30-6:30 p.m., and again on Jan. 15, 12:15-1 p.m., join museum educator Catie Anderson for stories and conversation about “Above the Fold” artworks and multifold design applications.

See Team USA Snow Sculptors at work on Crystalizing Origami, Jan. 18-19, noon-5 p.m. Mike Martino, Tom Queoff, and Mike Sponholtz – inspired by Kevin Box’s and Michael G. LaFosse’s sculpture – work wintertime wonders during their 30th year creating snow sculptures at the Woodson Art Museum.

Learn more about paper types, origami techniques, and papermaking during programs presented in December and February by museum staff and a guest artist.

  • Art Park Open Studio, Dec. 7, 1-3 p.m. All ages drop in to engage in easy origami folding, celebrating “Above the Fold.”
  • Art 101: Paper Types & Techniques, Dec. 18, 12:15-1 p.m. From dampening and crumpling to pleating and twisting, museum curator of exhibitions Shannon Pueschner highlights the distinct origami techniques and variety of papers featured in “Above the Fold” and “FaunaFold.”
  • Art 101: Handmade Paper Artistry, Feb. 6, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Artist and University of Wisconsin-Madison Design Studies professor Mary Hark discusses the fine craft of hand papermaking. Sharing examples of handmade papers – made from linen and cotton textiles, bio-waste, abaca, flax, and other materials – from her own practice and collected from other makers over many years, Mary’s presentation includes images of her production papermaking practice and hand-papermaking project in Ghana, West Africa.
  • Art 101: Handmade Papers, Feb. 19, 12:15-1 p.m. Learn about the varied materials used to make handmade papers, and try papermaking with help from curator of exhibitions Shannon Pueschner and educator Catie Anderson.

Additional Programs for All

  • During Art Park Open Studio on the first Saturday of each month, 1-3 p.m., all ages drop in for hands-on art making inspired by artwork on view in the galleries.
  • SPARK! programs for individuals with memory loss and an accompanying friend or family member on the second Thursday of each month, 10:30 a.m.-noon, offer social interaction in the galleries, followed by a hands-on art activity; call the museum at 715-845-7010 to register.
  • During Toddler Tuesdays on the third Tuesday of each month, 10:30 a.m.-noon, little ones, 18 months-4 years, and accompanying adults drop in to sample art making and interactive play in Art Park.
  • Art Babies, Art Time for Tots, Art 4 You, and Art Kids programs are offered in late January and February; check the online events calendar for details and call the museum at 715-845-7010 to register.
  • Art Beyond Sight, on Feb. 29, 10:30 a.m.-noon, is designed for people with low vision and blindness. Participants join museum educators for a multisensory visit to the galleries followed by hands-on art making inspired by origami artwork on view. Call the museum at 715-845-7010 to register.

For more information, visit www.lywam.org, e-mail the museum at info@lywam.org or call 715-845-7010.