WEST BRATTLEBORO - "Prayers for Peace, Pairings, and The Passage of Time," an exhibit of paintings and papercuts by Stu Copans, runs from Aug. 30 through Oct. 8 in gallery spaces at All Souls Church. Included are new works from Stu Copans’ ongoing "Shalom" series of papercuts, begun over a dozen years ago. A few of his traditional black cuttings are accompanied by arrays incorporating small "shaloms" within a grid of abstract designs. These little "prayers for peace" represent the artist’s response to the deteriorating situation in the Middle East.

Two oversize canvases with the words for peace in Arabic and Hebrew, first shown last year, have been modified with the prayer "Free my heart from hatred." These enhancements were painted in each language by young Arab and Israeli participants at this summer’s Peace Camp in nearby Guilford.

Two other areas of exploration by Copans are also on display. The first is a small sample from a series of 50 shaped paintings done during his fiftieth college reunion. They were painted on a school newspaper produced for the gathering. "As we marched in alongside the new graduates," he shared, "it was hard to imagine that 50 years had passed. Looking at some of the old articles reproduced from the newspapers of 50 years ago, it was also astonishing to think about how much has changed."

The second set of small works are arrangements of cut and painted paper shapes on the theme of communication and collaboration.


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This series may have been inspired by Copans’ recent research on factors that contribute to successful collaboration, as well as his investigation into the reason for genders and the evolution of sexual reproduction, carried out as part of a larger project focused on teenage pregnancy.

Copans first became interested in papercutting through watching his two-year-old son Benjamin put himself to sleep by playing with paper and scissors. He subsequently joined the Guild of American Papercutters, where he studied and taught. His interest in papercutting broadened when he worked on a student ship for three months, sailing around the world and visiting a variety of cultures where he studied indigenous arts and papercutting traditions. He was an active member of the former Windham Art Gallery and participated in many of their shows.

The Arts Committee of All Souls Church invites the public to an artist’s reception on Sunday, Sept. 21, from 2 to 4 p.m., to meet the artist and learn more about his creative process. Otherwise the building is open for gallery visitors during worship services and other public events as well as Sunday, Aug. 31, till 2 p.m. and 9 a.m. to p.m.1 on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 2 and 3. Regular weekday hours after Sept. 4 will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

All Souls Church is at 29 South St., across the road from the West Brattleboro fire station and village common. Head up the wooded driveway to a large parking area by the church. For more information, call the Church office at 802-254-9377.