Francene Levinson was born in Brooklyn, New York. She received her Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Fine Arts from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. Her art career included 15 years as an art teacher: five years in New York and ten years in Florida. She now resides in Boca Raton, Florida. She earned an advanced ED.S degree, from Nova University, Davie, FL for SLD instruction. Many of her Florida art students were new residents in the U.S.A. and often shared their multi-cultural artistic experiences. The discovery of Chinese Zhe Zhi modular paper folding was such a cultural experience taught to Francene by one of her art students. Now, after researching the technique, working in this unique paper medium allows Ms. Levinson to create her own geometric forms and give a singular voice to the unity of many. Ms. Levinsonís paper sculptures have been juried into many exhibitions in Florida including: The Scripps Research Center: Nexus: Science + Art; The Rosen Gallery International Biennial; The Armory Art Center; The Von Liebig Art Center; Rossetti Art Gallery, The Artistís Guild Gallery; The 110 Art Gallery; The Cornell Museum; and The 2011 - 60th Annual - All Florida Exhibition and Competition at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. She has numerous first place awards and a great many other honors. More recently and importantly, her work has received the First Place Award at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, 2010 Biennial, in Boca Raton, Florida. Also, her portfolio of work has recently been awarded the Mastermind Art Grant for South Florida, Francene has lectured on the history and technique of Chinese Zhe Zhi paper sculpture to various professional art groups. Her portfolio may be seen on the web at www.francenelevinson.com and http://francenelevinson.me
I am a contemporary artist, who expands upon the time-honored medium of paper to find new forms of expression through complex paper folding. The discovery of Chinese ‚ÄúZhe Zhi‚ÄĚ modular paper folding was a shared cultural experience taught to me by one of my art students. Now, working in this unique paper medium allows me to create my own geometric beauty and give a singular voice to the unity of many.
My abstract sculptural style is based on revealing the dynamic lines of various organic forms including birds and plant life. Natural forms allow me to explore their architecture, as well as their hidden mathematical beauty. I now use multiple folded pieces of paper to do this. Each folded paper unit becomes a point that describes the topology of changing planes. The original modular Chinese paper folding technique I use is called ‚ÄúZhe Zhi.‚ÄĚ This technique has greatly influenced my sculptural forms. Since it is modular in nature and I use it as a fine art sculptural medium, it may contain many more folded pieces of paper than the original Chinese folk art. My artwork may have as many as 6500 pieces of folded color acid-free paper, bonded with acid-free glue. Creating abstract contemporary sculpture from flat paper is a challenge that consistently reveals the architectural power of paper.
After I was introduced to this unique modular Chinese paper technique, further research revealed its ancient origins. Buddhist monks introduced paper as they travelled across Asia, ultimately introducing paper to Japan around 750A.D. The Japanese took paper making to heart and ultimately coined the world wide generic word for paper folding, ‚ÄúOrigami‚ÄĚ. The ancient ‚ÄúZhe Zhi‚ÄĚ Chinese modular paper folding technique was introduced to the west for the very first time in 1993. That is when Chinese immigrant artists were captured off the ship, ‚ÄúThe Golden Venture." The unique paper folk art they created while in an American prison served as my inspiration to explore this medium. The paper sculpture I now create attempts to honor these immigrants‚Äô struggle for freedom. My art reflects the fragility as well as the strength of both paper and the universal struggle for freedom.
‚ÄúWe entrust our dreams to the fragility of paper‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ said a Chinese immigrant.