James Thurman's "Paper Alchemy" exhibition comes to U.S. after debut in Instanbul

James Thurman, Umut Demirguc Thurman and a friend at the opening of Paper Alchemy

Ayşegül Türemen, Bir Haber Uçurdum Dünyaya (I have a message for the world)
Art by Ana Lopez using Thurmanite


Since 2018, Associate Professor James Thurman has become increasingly interested in curatorial projects. Delayed by COVID-19, Thurman's latest exhibition, "Paper Alchemy," comes to the U.S. after its debut in Instanbul at Alelier Maya in June. 

"For more than 25 years, I have been a highly active studio practitioner and found curatorial work to be an excellent addition to my studio work. My first major curatorial experience was in 2018 when I co-curated with Umut Demirgüç Thurman in the Lineages exhibition, bringing together several generations of metalsmiths and their mentors. It was such a rewarding experience that in 2019, I co-curated "Wearable Pewter" with artist Teresa F. Faris. It debuted at the 2019 Society of North American Goldsmiths, SNAG, conference in Chicago, and then traveled to Ayşe Takı Galerisi in Istanbul, and on to Alliages in Lille, France."

"My current curatorial project, “Paper Alchemy,” is focused on Thurmanite®, a unique composite material I developed made of layers of recycled paper bonded together with an environmentally-friendly plant-based resin. It was planned to debut at the 2020 SNAG Conference which was canceled due to COVID-19." The exhibition returns to the U.S. in the fall and begins traveling to additional venues, beginning with the Art Museum at Covington Center at Radford University, Radford, Va., from Sept. 15 to Dec. 3, 2021.

“Paper Alchemy” has a unique premise, Thurman said, and invited artists were provided Thurmanite® to use in their own designs. Initially, participants were all metalsmiths but additional participants using a wide range of media have joined the project. 

The following artists have recently completed pieces for the exhibition.

Thurman is an associate professor in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas, where he is the Program Coordinator of Metalsmithing and Jewelry. He received his M.F.A. in Metalsmithing from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Minn., and his B.F.A. in Sculpture from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa. A two-time Fulbright Specialist Scholar, he worked in Istanbul, with Kadir Has University in 2012 and the Glass Furnace Foundation in 2016.

Image 1: Umut Demirguc Thurman, left, James Thurman and Rosita Kasuto at the Istanbul exhibition opening.

Image 2: Ayşegül Türemen, Bir Haber Uçurdum Dünyaya (I have a message for the world).

Image 3: Blue Dahlia by Ana Lopez, associate professor, UNT CVAD Studio Art: Metalsmithing and Jewelry

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