At a glance, Shou Ping Newcomb’s artwork appears flat and two dimensional, like a colorful still life. At some angles it resembles origami. But as you step closer to the picture frames, the fragility and detail of the paper art comes into focus, and you can clearly recognize that the art is three dimensional, mini paper sculptures of flowers, fish, hummingbirds, swans, plants, pueblos, hearts.
Shou Ping Newcomb, who was born and raised in Taiwan, started out as a cartoonist, a commercial artist, and an art teacher before moving in the nineties to the United States, where she was inspired by the landscape. Her artwork began to revolve around her love for her ecological surroundings and the splendor of the natural world. And so it is a natural fit for her work to be on display at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, in Austin, through May 31. The center, founded by the late first lady, is a testament to nature’s beauty, with a pond, wild fauna, outdoor sculpture, hiking trails, and a butterfly area.
After wandering the trails, step inside the McDermott Learning Center, where on the wall is a story by Shou Ping’s daughter Wendy describing the artist as a “paper magician with her enchanted scissors and magical brushes.” And that is how Shou Ping interprets nature—through paper, scissors, watercolors, and time. In this exhibit, Shou Ping pays homage to both Asian and Texan cultures—orchids, wildflowers, ginger lilies, magnolias, banana trees, hummingbirds, cacti, butterflies. Up close, the little pieces of her work begin to pop out: the petals of a bluebonnet, the scales of a koi. Within each piece, Shou Ping’s love of nature shines through. See for yourself.