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Cutting Edge Art

Cutting Edge Art
Jacky Cheng Paper Art When we think of art, usually we conjure the image of an artist applying layers of  paint to a canvas or paper to create an image.  One Broome artist is creating complex designs and works of art by subtracting from paper rather than adding to it. Jacky Cheng is creating a body of work from paper. Each work consists of layers of individually hand cut and carved sheets of paper, each is beautifully designed. Many consist of complex fractal repetitions, others with sublime patterns.  Her starting point is a single sheet of crisp white paper, which Cheng carves and cuts with a scalpel. A second sheet is then laid on top and the scalpel is once again applied. 

Cheng cleverly builds dimension by layering multiple sheets of paper so that light and shadow become an integral part of the composition.  This layering and cutting is replicated often with hundreds of sheets of paper to create a single work of art.  While Cheng always starts with the end design in mind, every turn of the knife dictates where a new shadow might be cast often resulting in an organic development and new direction for the work. The empty spaces created from cutting are as important as the paper that remains. Yin and Yang play out across the face of work. Complex designs created with nothing more than a scalpel and a steady hand, the works instill doubt in the mind of the viewer as most believe these works are computer generated.

Cheng’s love of paper art has an early antecedence. She fondly remembers folding Joss paper as a child with her grandmother. “Double Happiness”, “Lotus” and “Mandala” are titles of work that strongly hint at the profound influence Cheng takes from her Chinese cultural background.  While “Imaginary Homeland” and “Home Away From Home” are works that tell or interpret chapters from the life of Jacky Cheng, a Malay Chinese living in Broome. 

These creations require concentration, persistence and patience, something the Chinese have an abundance of proverbs for, including baí shoǔ qǐ jiā which loosely translates to “build up something from nothing”.  Cheng, a previous Shinju Maturi Art Award winner, has built an impressive catalogue of cutting edge art that can be viewed online at www.jackycheng.com.au.

Originally published Local Aesthetic in the Broome Advertiser 13 May 2015

All of Jacky Cheng's works are archivally framed at Art House


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