Stu Copans exhibit opens at All Souls Church

Stu Copans exhibit opens at All Souls Church

WEST BRATTLEBORO — “Prayers for Peace, Pairings, and the Passage of Time,” an exhibit of paintings and papercuts by Stu Copans, runs through Oct. 8 in gallery spaces at All Souls Church.

Included are new works from Copans' ongoing “Shalom” series of papercuts, begun more than a dozen years ago.

A few of his traditional black cuttings are accompanied by arrays incorporating small “shaloms” within a grid of abstract designs. These little “prayers for peace” represent the artist's response to the deteriorating situation in the Middle East.

Two oversize canvases with the words for peace in Arabic and Hebrew, first shown last year, are modified with the prayer, “Free my heart from hatred.” These enhancements were painted in each language by young Arab and Israeli participants at this summer's Peace Camp in nearby Guilford.

Two other areas of exploration by Copans are also on display: The first is a small sample from a series of 50 shaped paintings done during Copans' 50th college reunion. They were painted on a school newspaper produced for the gathering.

Copans notes, “As we marched in alongside the new graduates, it was hard to imagine that 50 years had passed. Looking at some of the old articles reproduced from the newspapers of 50 years ago, it was also astonishing to think about how much has changed."

Copans describes the second set of small works - arrangements of cut and painted paper shapes on the theme of communication and collaboration - as inspired by his recent research on factors that contribute to successful collaboration as well as his investigation into the reason for genders and the evolution of sexual reproduction, carried out as part of a larger project focused on teenage pregnancy.

Copans says he first became interested in papercutting through watching his 2-year-old son Benjamin put himself to sleep by playing with paper and scissors.

Copans then joined the Guild of American Papercutters, where he studied and taught. His interest in papercutting broadened when he worked on a student ship for three months, sailing around the world and visiting a variety of cultures where he studied indigenous arts and papercutting traditions.

He was an active member of the former Windham Art Gallery and participated in many of their shows.

The Arts Committee of All Souls Church invites the public to an artist's reception on Sunday, Sept. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The building also is open for gallery visitors during worship services and other public events, as well as Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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