Terry Ann Tomlinson


The art I make does not refer to anything other than itself. My art is abstracted in imagery, minimal in content, direct in feeling in search of the spiritual dimension that unites us all.

I began making paper by hand in 2002. The fragile and ephemeral qualities of paper are a reminder that all of life is impermanent and has its inherent transformative rhythm. The evolution of paper from wet pulp to the finished form grants me this presence of transformation. When making paper I feel connected to nature in a direct way. I am constantly inspired by its beauty and infinite variety of texture, color and form.

I use nagashizuki, a Japanese papermaking technique and traditional kozo or abaca fibers to convey the sensual, translucent and more refined beauty of handmade paper. I cast or embed paper with a variety of contrasting materials such as metal, thread, found objects, mica and text. Mindful repetition as ritual becomes a meditative practice in my work. My imagination meets my craft when I observe forms in nature continuously repeating, none precisely alike.

Light creates dimension in my paper art, be it natural or artificial, as well as reflective metals such as copper and gold leaf. In my Medusa Series, I make paper forms that vaguely resemble jellyfish. By illuminating them in their conceptual spaces, they offer a viewer an observable radiance where the embedded fibers and translucency of the paper are revealed. They become their own unique ecosystems that capture the essence of jellyfish and the feeling I experience when watching them.

My abstract drawings further define my relationship with paper. Over time, each work conjures up partial disclosures from a “somewhere” or a “something”. Drawing with graphite, pastels, ink or tape, I excavate, destroy and rebuild. I explore until the images seem to emerge from the paper itself. It is the establishment of an intangible interior dimension that challenges me.

I experience the full expression of who I am by creating art. In the words of Alan Alda, “The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”