Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Plans for Drawing Career Cut Short by Discovery of Paper Art

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Plans for Drawing Career Cut Short by Discovery of Paper Art

Article excerpt

Retired art teacher Frank Melega's chance glance at a book about paper cuttings on the desk of Carmichaels librarian June Kim several months ago was the impetus behind the current exhibit at the art museum in Brownsville that bears his family's name.

Melega was so intrigued by the artful pictures in the book that he wanted to know more about the artist and see more of her work.

"I never before saw paper-cutting work with this degree of detail, and was amazed by all the different shapes the artist got with just scissors and knives. It's almost like microsurgery," said Melega, who spent 38 years teaching art in the Jefferson-Morgan School District. He is the son of the late Frank L. Melega, a local artist known for his scenes of life in the coal and coke fields of southwestern Pennsylvania and for whom the museum is named.

Kim told him that she and the book's author, Haeyong Kwon, were lifelong friends from the same town in Korea. Though Kim's move to this country to go to college in 1966 preceded Kwon's arrival by nine years, the two have always stayed in touch.

Melega thought Kwon's unique artwork might make an interesting exhibit and suggested that Kim have her friend send museum curator Patrick Daugherty examples of her work.

"We like to feature exhibits of as many different art forms as we can, everything from sculpture and water colors to ceramics, acrylics and oils," Daugherty said. "Kwon's paper-cutting work fits in with our goal of demonstrating the different paths various artists take and the variety of work they produce."

From now through May 8, Kwon's 39 framed paper cuts of landscapes, floral arrangements, abstracts and silhouettes will be on display at the Melega Art Museum.

The exhibit is titled "Folk Art Expressions," an allusion to the folksy look of Kwon's works, which incorporate the styles of many countries, including Sweden, Korea, Switzerland and Holland.

One of the first pieces visitors encounter depicts a wide-eyed, stylized tiger with a long serpentine tail lurking in front of a gnarled pine and staring open-mouthed at the viewer, exposing sharp, pointed teeth. …

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