Paula Billups' transmedial artistic practice includes painting, drawing, collage, installation, research, autotheory, autoethnography, and curatorial study.
She has worked with with paradigm-bending multinational collectives such as the Cottage University in Ontario and the BABEL Working Group in Toronto. She joined the Artist's Book Exchange at Telavi State University and was a member of the American branch of the Tunisian Collaborative Painters Collective.
Her writing on art has appeared in journals in the United States and the United Kingdom, and her work has appeared in national periodicals. She has been featured on various radio, podcast, and video series. Her work is in public and private collections across the globe.
Ms. Billups holds an MFA from the Transart Institute in Berlin, a BFA from the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, and a BA in English Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2021, she began online studies at the Postgraduate Programme in Curating at the Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland.
Statement on Palimpsests and Collages
My palimpsests resemble fragments unearthed from ancient sites, old stories whose original meanings are lost. Viewers may use these fragments to construct meaning relevant to their own experience, recasting themselves in the process as agents of the work's completion. I am inspired by the fragmentary imagery of ancient Mediterranean frescoes and mosaics.
My palimpsests explore and investigate my motions and experiences as I travel and live for a period of time in a certain place. The elements of location, cultural characteristics, and population give a unique quality to that city's ephemera.These works are made of paper and such bits and pieces of printed matter as crossed my path -- using the scraps that come from that place, my works are innately about that place. I rebuild narratives from these gradually accumulated scraps in that place as a form of wandering journal and obscured or incomplete visual narratives.
Statement on Painting
In my paintings on paper, I allude to ancient cave paintings using darkened exhibition environments, a limited earth-based palette and direct application of pigment to paper (the nearest analogy to a wall). I provide handheld lanterns for visitors to encounter the work as a process of active discovery, casting the viewer as participant: their action brings the work, literally, to light.
My portraits are painted from life. These are four-dimensional records of the time we spent interacting during studio sessions, in which we unconsciously influenced each other and created a feedback loop of shifting mental and physical states.
I am influenced by the work of Bruno Schulz, Remedios Varo, Thomas Hirshhorn, Joseph Cornell, Rogan Taylor, Joseph Campbell, Edouard Glissant, Emmanuel Levinas, Immanuel Kant, Homer, and Beethoven.