A stack of worn phone books, a neatly folded button-up, and a junk draw filled with receipts, batteries, and takeout remnants capture the playful nostalgia of Bernie Kaminski’s paper mâché sculptures. The artist, who began working with the humble craft after his daughter brought home a seahorse she made in school, is driven largely by curiosity and a desire to explore the potential of the material, and he tends to recreate the objects he finds around his home. An orange dutch oven sits atop a shelving unit stocked with pantry items and cookbooks, for example, and books like Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White and John Berger’s A Painter of Our Time find their place among other classic texts.
Kaminski gravitates toward authentic interpretations of generally banal items, although the subtle ripples and creases of the material remain visible. He generally coats a cardboard and tape base with the wet paper mâché, before letting it dry and painting on logos, signatures, and other details. Imbued with a playful sense of nostalgia, the sculptures “look fake in a way that somehow reflects how I feel about the real thing,” the artist tells It’s Nice That.