Gears and architectural structures emerge from Michael Velliquette’s meditative paper sculptures

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#architecture #Michael Velliquette #paper #sculpture

July 16, 2022

Gabrielle Lawrence

“The Fullness of Experience in the Void of Consciousness” (2022), paper sculpture, 12 x 12 x 6.5 in. All images © Michael Velliquette, shared with permission

One look at Michael Velliquette’s paper sculptures and you might lose yourself in the majesty of the construction and feel the intricate gears, the fan-shaped geometric arcs and the echoing layers churning within you.

A circle is more than it appears in his works as it spirals into a chamber of other shapes. Each interpretation extends its form from the structural foundation to the apex of an accentuating cut. As Velliquette (previously) describes, “I start by cutting small concentric shapes and layering them. That becomes the center. I then build more elaborate components that respond to the previous ones and then build from there. I call it slow motion improvisation.”

However, Velliquette’s paper sculptures are not all about form. The bronze and metallic colors of the works capture the viewer’s attention, as seen in “My soul shines with your infinity of stars,” as Velliquette says, “color [a]affects the mood”, and as he methodically and organically arrives at the final structure of the piece, the hue also guides the meditative experience of his work and gives each sculpture its special character.

Velliquette spends 300 to 500 hours on each sculpt, using mostly basic straight edge scissors and X-Acto knives. He says:

For me there is a difference between ‘patience’ and ‘concentration’. Patience comes when I have to endure something unpleasant, which is rarely the case in my job. However, most artists I know develop good concentration skills, ie the ability to sit in a concentrated state for a long period of time. So, yes, my work has helped me focus and it’s not uncommon for me to work six to eight hours straight at a stretch without feeling overly stressed or exhausted.

There’s a parallel in something like paper, a material that exists somewhere between strength and fragility, and the kind of play that triggers concentration. Both are vulnerable: paper in its duality and concentration, massaging the subconscious in its meditative state. All energy is directed into working on the task at hand and at the same time something deeper inside is stretched, worked out and unbuttoned, especially in art. Where nothing (or very little) happens, everything happens.

For example, in The Fullness of Experience in the Emptiness of Consciousness, the eye level view is an amazing feat. Its structure evokes mythical qualities and stimulates the imagination. However, it is the aerial view – the inner workings – that induce trance and wonder, the vastness of concentration and deep observation, the reminder that bodies will breathe all by themselves. When all is said and done, something wonderfully complicated will emerge from our simple and mundane efforts.

For more of Velliquette’s work, visit his website and Instagram.

“I have hymns you haven’t listened” (2022), paper sculpture, 20 x 20 x 2 inches

“Everywhere transience dives into the depth of being” (2020), paper sculpture, 30 x 30 x 22 cm

Left: I have hymns you haven’t listened (2022), paper sculpture, 20 x 20 x 2 in. Right: “My soul is alight with your infinity of stars” (2021), paper sculpture, 12 x 12 x 3 in

Detail from “The Fullness of Experience in the Void of Consciousness” (2022), paper sculpture, 12 x 12 x 6.5 inches

Left: You create yourself in ever-changing shape that rise from the stuff of our days (2022), paper sculpture, 20 x 20 x 2 in. Right: The love that would soak down into the center of being (2020), paper sculpture, 20 x 20 x 8 in

“It rises in wordless gentleness and flows to me from the invisible roots of all created being” (2021), paper sculpture, 16 x 6 x 6 in

#architecture #Michael Velliquette #paper #sculpture

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