The Paper People

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ShikashioHiroko Endless Fun 62  18x24  NFS

by Celina Colby

Hanging on the walls of galleries and public buildings all over New England are beautifully crafted works by the artists of 19 on Paper. Founded in Rhode Island in 1986, the organization is a member-based group of artists whose primary medium is paper. The name originates from the founding 19 members. The current members are painters, collage artists, bookmakers, printmakers and sculptors.
Although the group often works independently, they also meeting regularly at a member’s studio for workshops and group critiques, and frequently join in outside functions and activities as a group. Their latest excursion included a group trip to The Paper Connection for a lecture/demonstration and participation in a wholesale paper purchase.


The artists in 19 on Paper demonstrate an extraordinary range of subject matter and media. Mary Dondero creates abstract ink paintings made to represent the natural environment around her. Her piece, Shore, is a stunning marbled landscape in rich greys, blacks and whites. The ink has the movement of the ocean running up into the sand and then receding back into itself. She has the remarkable ability to translate a visceral experience onto a 2-dimmensional surface.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Paul Murray. Murray’s photography is crisp, clean and so lifelike that the people breathe and the wind blows in each one. His portrait Life is Good! captures a fleeting childhood moment. A small boy stands facing the camera, a toy in one hand, the other gripping what may be a fence. He engages with the audience. It seems he has turned from his play for a brief moment to indulge us with a smile.

10 Life Is Good

The work of the 19 on Paper artists is on view at an ongoing exhibition at the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and at the Heritage House in Connecticut. They are developing an exhibit for the Fitchburg Art Museum, slated for 2016.

Members pay an annual fee of $50 and must submit a portfolio for review before acceptance. 19 on Paper looks for artists that display a high quality of work, professionalism, and consideration for other artists. More information about the group and the application process is available here.


Image Credit: Images courtesy of


Celina Colby is the editorial assistant at Art New England magazine and the blogger behind Trends and Tolstoy.


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