Zen in Amity

UNC alum Katelynn Mai-Fusco’s work offers viewers the calm of water in the shadows of paper

In February and early March, in the Oak Room Gallery in Crabbe Hall, UNC alumna and guest artist Katelynn Mai-Fusco exhibited her sight-specific installation art piece “Amity.” In gradients of cool blue to light purple to peach, multiple panels of paper in a distinct wave pattern are backlit. Sheets of silk chiffon hang in front of the artwork, creating a softer atmosphere in the room. A soft, ambient sound of water dripping and trickling can be heard every once in a while.

Mai-Fusco’s chosen medium is Tyvek, a type of paper with high-density polyethylene fibers allowing it to be cut but not torn. With precision knives, Mai-Fusco cuts out intricate patterns.

In her “Amity” piece, Mai-Fusco cut out patterns emulating water. The weight of the paper affecting the look of her Tyvek artwork was, as she calls it, “a happy accident.” Mai-Fusco’s inspiration for the piece came from the Poudre River in Fort Collins, so she started studying the sound, light and color of the river. “I kind of became more obsessed with water and all the different aspects of water. I guess one of them being that it is a source of life; it makes up 70 percent of our bodies,” Mai-Fusco said. “Then another part of it being that it’s a delicate thing that can be part of rituals, like baptizing somebody. But it can also be a powerful thing that can wipe out cities. I think that water is not only the source of life, but it embodies a lot of qualities that directly reflect what everyone goes through in life.”

–Mary Harbert is a junior double majoring in English and Journalism. Her interests include film, art and creative writing. She works for UNC’s student newspaper, The Mirror, as a staff reporter. This excerpt was originally published online for The Mirror atuncmirror.com.