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Jeanine Esposito, Artist



The New York Times

July 16, 2000

ART; The Unusual (And the Usual) In Paper Works


COMPETITIONS are proliferating in the art world these days. The downside is that viewers often feel bombarded by styles, techniques and images new to them, but a definite upside is that competitions make a lot of art visible that would never be discovered or be seen by a wide audience.

A new entry in the world of regional competitions is ''Paper Works,'' sponsored by the Connecticut Graphic Arts Center in Norwalk. Harry Philbrick, director of the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, selected the show as well as three winners who will be featured in a show next year. All kinds of the usual and the unusual in printmaking are represented, but the contest rules went beyond the usual bounds by permitting papier-mache sculpture -- a flock of sheep by Mazie Cipriani -- and even photography. Since photography has its own processes and rich pedigree, the fact that most photographs are on paper seems beside the point. One can protest too much: only a few photographs were chosen; even so, they seem a bit like interlopers.


Collage, because of its foray into three-dimensionality, might be considered a step on the way to sculpture -- but the show isn't lacking in full-blown paper sculpture.

In addition to Ms. Cipriani's sheep, there is a fetching handmade paper boat by Jeanine Esposito. It is a metaphorical vessel, one surmises, for it contains thorns and is titled ''Emergence.''



Westport News

November 22, 2005

Esposito Exhibits in New Canaan

Jeanine Esposito of Westport is among the artists featured in The New Canaan Society for the Arts’ exhibit, “Pulp Friction - New Takes on Paper.”

The show features 15 artists from across the United States and Canada.

The exhibition will run through Dec. 18 in the Betty Barker Gallery at the Carriage Barn Arts Center in Waveny Park.


Paper as a sculptural medium is Esposito’s current focus. Esposito comes to art from a career as corporate innovation and strategy specialist. Although she has only been exhibiting formally for a few years, the response to her work has been enthusiastic, according to Barnett.

Using a wide range of pulps, textiles and found objects, Esposito creates works ranging from 12 inches to 12 feet as she seeks to represent “emotional and psychological states that accompany critical life transformations.”

She makes sheets of paper or sprays the pulp, in either case manipulating the wet material, forming it over armatures of her own design that are later removed allowing the paper to support itself.

Esposito does not color or treat the surface but prefers the natural characteristics of the paper - its texture and color.

“I try to take advantage of the translucency and play of light as well as the incredible strength and fineness that paper fiber can possess,” she said.

To Esposito, paper should not be considered just common and ephemeral. She appreciates its strength and durability, and admires its translucence and tactile quality that, when used as a sculptural medium, provide an “organic sensuousness.”


The Stamford Times

March 30, 2003

Gallery hosts paper sculpture exhibit

Visitors to the Art X Gallery at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center can meet conceptual artist Jeanine Esposito and view her newest exhibit, “Transformations and Rebirth: Sculptural Works of Handmade paper,” from 1 to 2 on Sundays, March 30 and April 13...

Esposito works primarily with hand-made paper, pulp, textiles and found materials. “I often integrate bits of other material in my work - metal, glass and found objects - but my focus is on pushing the boundaries of paper as a sculptural material. In my work, I try to represent the emotional and psychological states that accompany critical life transformations. Meaning and context almost always preceded the visual idea of a piece for me.”

She adds. that she has recently focused on making and using handmade paper as her sculpture medium.

“Hand-made paper allows me to create a varied, extensive body of sculptural work, while taking advantage of the translucency and play with light as well as the incredible strength and fineness that paper fiber can possess. Although I’m using paper fiber as my material, my perspective is purely sculptural.

According to the artist, “The pieces in this series represent three phases of the life-death-life cycle that follows us throughout our lives. The work speaks to those profound transformations that occur infrequently in one’s life (maybe only once, maybe never!)”

Esposito comes to the art world from an unusual career as a corporate innovation and strategy specialist, helping Fortune 500-level companies invent new products and completely rethink their businesses. She has just been formally exhibiting her work in the past two years. She studied hand papermaking with Kay Johnson in Wisconsin in the 1980s and continued her students at Haystack Mountain School in Maine, Dieu Donne in New York City and the Connecticut Graphic Arts Center, where she has also taught paper sculpture. She has been co-curator of shows at Rhode Island School of Design and Westport Arts Center.

The Stamford Advocate

Interactivity and Innovation at Stamford Museum

By L.P. Streitfeld

The Advocate Special Correspondent

Rarely does an artist alight the scene with such a perfectly formed aesthetic integrated with resonant content. Jeanine Esposito’s first solo exhibition “Transformation and Rebirth: Sculptural Works of Handmade Paper,” succeeds in establishing an evocative narrative of the life-death-rebirth cycle. This Westport artist has made a rapid rise in the region since her debut as a prizewinner in “51st Art of the Northeast” at Silvermine Guild Arts Center in May 2000. Working solely in the medium of handmade paper, Esposito’s sculptural works have been selected in just about every key juried show in the region since. This is the first time they have been displayed together in a gallery; the overall effect is to push the craft of homemade paper into artistic ground where strength, vulnerability and beauty co-exist through the spatial transformation of a flat medium.

The excitement of “Transformation and Rebirth” is contained in a tightly woven narrative established through the connecting threads of related works. The artist utilizes natural materials such as twine, abaca, linen, eggs and pieces of wasp nest to interpret the psyche’s transformation reflecting nature’s cycles.

The impact stems from Esposito’s process; rather than creating conceptually, the artist extends outward from an emotional center, allowing her unique artistry to transform personal experience into universal expression. Among the works representing the initial stage of surrender is “Burned”, a vulva shaped hole formed from layers of burnt abaca over a burnt piece of wood. The revelatory middle phase can be summed up by “Forgiveness,” the polarity of wounding and wholeness represented by a pair of nuzzling heads, one with a smooth marble appearance and the other a patchwork of sewn pieces. The final rebirth stage of Nature/Nurture” depicts interconnecting pods formed from eggs strung together with abaca paper. This work raises the eternal question: Why do some acorns grow into majestic oaks while other wither and die?

The uniform use of handmade paper’s surface translucency and inherent texture to infiltrate form with light is highly effective. The artist strengthens her emotional impact through a measured extension of her palate to red (for a depiction of the life force in “Rage” and “Internal Bleeding”) and black (for the decomposition of “Burnt” and containment of “Tears”). The formal balance between the components of the exhibition stems from the interaction of feminine symbols (the container and red sphere in the mysterious “Knowing” and spiral of “Bound”) with masculine forms (“Spinal Tap”). The cocoon and webbing effects that Esposito creates with paper can be a dead ringer for the natural transition states.

A new work, “All My Eggs, refers to fertility, specifically the number of eggs the artist believes she has left. This literal depiction of 28 eggs, arranged in rows of 4 and lit from behind, accounts for the lunar month as well as the feminine cycle. The cracked eggs in the composition extend the meaning in regard to female limitation and vulnerability...

From Secrets, Lies and Revelations to True Confessions at Silvermine Galleries

Five new exhibitions from September 7 through October 5 at Silvermine Galleries offer viewers an array of media. One-person exhibitions include sculptural handmade paper by Jeanine Esposito of Westport... and True Confessions by the legendary New Yorker artist Roz Chast of Ridgefield...

Jeanine Esposito’s one-person show, Secrets, Lies & Revelations, explores the theme of telling lies and keeping secrets. The sculptures, which represent the many phases of deception, range in size from one to eight-fee-high and are composed of handmade paper pulps, textiles and found materials like rope, glass, thorns and wood.

Esposito is a corporate innovation and strategy specialist, helping Fortune 500 companies invent new products and reshape their businesses. In the past three years, she has been in more than 25 juried shows. Among her awards are the Jens Risom Sculpture Award in Silvermine’s Art of the Northeast USA. Ms. Esposito has also taught handmade paper sculpture at the Connecticut Graphic Arts Center...