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:: By Ruth E. Kott

:: Image courtesy Jill Littlewood

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Peer Review ::

On exhibit

Another kind of pulp art

For five years (1979–84) Jill Littlewood, X’71, drew bones for the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, illustrating a curator’s academic articles in return for free rein of the museum’s catalogued dinosaur bones; she was also illustrating a book, The Death Cantos, by her husband J. Kahn, AB’70, MD’74. “I felt right at home in this scientific paean to death,” she writes in exhibit notes: studying art history at Chicago, she was intrigued by the death imagery of the pre-Raphaelites. And at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received her BFA in 1975, she took a class in funerary art.

For her death-themed, large-scale, papermaking installation, Death and Other Lives (See May–June/08 “Peer Review Opener”), she made 200 pulp paintings. “Pulp is paper in its wet stage,” Littlewood explains: in this case, made from abaca and hemp fibers. Pulp painting, on the other hand, “uses pigmented pulps to create images.” When dry, the paper and the image fuse together.

First shown in a Chillicothe, OH, warehouse in October 2006 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Friends of Dard Hunter, a nonprofit organization dedicated to handmade papermaking techniques and artifacts, Death and Other Lives runs June 7–July 12 at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts.