Christopher S. Papa
Artist Statement

Like many print artists working today, Chris Papa is drawn to the challenge of making contemporary art in what is considered by many to be an anachronistic medium. Papa works primarily with woodcut for several reasons. It provides him with a way to combine the physicality of sculpture with the graphic qualities of drawing. The woodcut reveals in an explicit, visceral manner the process of carving, inking and printing that is used in its creation. And, it has an intrinsic affinity for abstraction that contrasts its use in representational artwork.

This dynamic contrast, the intersection of and tension between abstract and representational imagery, is the primary source of material for the artist’s work. Papa exploits the absence of a clear boundary between these categories to develop imagery that is both familiar and unrecognizable. The imagery is based on naturally occurring forms, however, it is not derived from the direct observation and reproduction of nature. It is a synthetic version, a composite of real and imagined shapes and marks that evoke the natural world. An external referent may be implied, but without confirmation of any meaning outside of the composition itself. The sense of familiarity or near recognition of separate components or the composition as a whole provides an enterance to the work. The pictorial forms simoultaneously appear as landscape, still life and figurative works.

Papa received his BFA from the University of Colorado in 1989, he is a member of Seattle Print Arts and Print Arts Northwest.

2015 Rhode Island School of Design, Master of Fine Arts
2014 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
1989 University of Colorado Boulder, Bachelor of Fine Arts

Artist Web Site
Works & History
Selected Solo Exhibitions:


Chris Papa: Recent Prints, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA
Selected Group Exhibitions:


Dirty Particles, 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, CA

New Traffic Pattern Ahead, Overpass Projects, Providence, RI


Cement All, Flux Factory, Long island City, NY

Boston Young Contemporaries, Boston University, Boston, MA

RISD MFA Exhibition, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI

Parallels, 60 Orange St, Providence, RI


RISD Sculpture Triennial, Woods-Gerry Gallery, Providence, RI

Matter/s, Sol Koffler Gallery, Providence, RI

50/50, Gelman Gallery, Providence, RI


Cloaked and Crashing, Expose Gallery, Providence, RI

LIKE, Davidson Galleries, Seattle, WA

Awards and Commissions:

2015 Boston Young Contemporaries 1st Place Award

2012 Joan Mitchell Residency Fellowship,Vermont Studio Center

2012 4Culture Individual Artist Grant

2011 Portland/Milwaukie Trolley Trail Sculpture Commission

2010 Works on Paper, King County Public Art Collection

2009 Seattle Public Utilities Emerging Artist Commission