In recently showing my work and working on larger projects, the topic of paper versus canvas/panel/other has come up quite often. It's difficult to explain a lifelong love of a substrate to someone who doesn't have experience working with it, and even moreso in a cocktail-type light conversation. Like all of the materials I use, paper is a choice that I make out of instinct and I continue to choose it again and again.
Yes, it warps and wrinkles. Yes, it's fragile. It requires framing. It feels light and inconsequential compared to a work on canvas and panel. All the qualities that people mention to question its validity and value are the same qualities that drive my choice to use it.
Paper absorbs and keeps every moment. I've worked on a number of other surfaces and paper is the one that best captures the force, the energy behind a gesture. Or even more specifically, my gesture. The mark seeps in and becomes a part of the paper (rather than sitting on top of).
Paper is not perfect, it's not flat. It can never be flat. If flatness was an objective, I wouldn't be using this subtrate. While it is a picture plane that can illustrate depth, it maintains its objectness. There is no attempt for this to be a window into a world that exists in reality, but rather it becomes a metaphor for a plane that exists within. Does that even make sense? ... it does to me.
I understand that framing costs money and that can make it a bit more cost prohibitive. That's a hard one. On the one hand, I don't enjoy that a piece of paper has to go behind glass. But on the other hand, I like the fact that you are forced to keep it - choosing to treat it like a relic or a temporal object you're trying to preserve and hold onto. If I had it my way, I probably would prefer it to be treated almost like a textile; appreciated for its materiality and able to be worn in. But I understand that sort of defies logic because I also want it to live beyond me.
Do you love paper like I do? Sure hope so if you're looking at my website!