unfoldingobject — the art of collage June 20—August 11, 2019 unfoldingobject, curated by Todd Bartel Essay and Foreword © 2019 Todd Bartel All work represented in this catalog © All artwork courtesy of the artist unless otherwise noted Photography of artwork courtesy of the artist, unless otherwise noted Exhibition photography Todd Bartel Design © 2019 Todd Bartel Printed on demand by Lulu.com All rights reserved front cover: Alfred DeCredico, untitled, 1983, collage, 5.625 x 8.125 inches back cover: Varujan Boghosian, untitled, 2018, collage, 6 5/8 x 5 3/4 inches
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unfoldingobject â&#x20AC;&#x201D; t h e a r t o f c o l l a g e Erika Lawlor Schmidt Nancy Baker Kerith Lisi Sara Baker Michalak D. Dominick Lombardi Todd Bartel Keith Maddy Allan Bealy China Marks Wayne Bertola Jack Massey Varujan Boghosian Maureen McCabe Andrea Burgay Talin Megherian Laura Christensen Charlie Nevad Alfred DeCredico Michael Oatman Diane DelliCarpini Sherry Parker Adrienne Der Marderosian Cory Peeke Ben DiNino W. David Powell Rich Fedorchak Gerri Rachins Anna Fine Foer Kenneth Ragsdale Paul Forte Marcus Ratliff Antonio FrĂ¤ppa Susan Reedy Luciana Frigerio Stephanie Roberts-Camello Ginnie Gardiner James Scott Deb Goldstein Wendy Seller Kathy Greenwood Jill Stoll Rachel Hibbard Joshua Stringer Angela V. Holland Nate Stromberg Marnie Jain Peter Thomashow Bo Joseph Michael Waraksa Clive Knights
unfoldingobject â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the art of collage
unfoldingobject — foreword
after all, I am a full-time high school art teacher, and my time is much in demand.
In early July of 2018, I was contacted by Susanah Howland (Chair of the Art Committee at CCVA) about curating an exhibition at Concord Art. Excited and intrigued, I visited to see the space and discuss the possibility. When I met the Executive Director, Kate James, I asked what kind of show they were hoping I could put together, and she said, “We would love for you to curate a collage show.” I learned that in its hundredyear history, Concord Art had yet to assemble an exhibition of only collage-based art. It is a great honor to have been asked to curate the first-ever collage show at one of the oldest galleries in the country.
I chose artists keeping gender parity in mind while looking for a balance between the genres and basic types of collage. I gave myself the rule of one piece per artist while welcoming work from any time period. Finally, I decided to focus on primarily flat work and paper collage; this show is not exhaustive in terms of what collage can be, and it only hints at some of its basic possibilities. One of the first lessons I ever learned about collage is that the moment you embrace working with things you did not make yourself, the entire universe opens up to you. Collage's reach is the great All. In a heartbeat, collage begets assemblage, which begets sculpture, which begets installation art and time-based media, which begets architecture, and then you start having ideas about gluing two planets together!
Kate and Susanah had done their homework. They knew I had curated the Strange Glue Collage at 100 exhibition series at the Thompson Gallery between 2012-13, which involved four exhibitions and over 250 artists. They knew about my own collage-based art, and they understood that collage is my life’s work. On the spot, I answered, “Yes!” When Kate asked me what I might call the show, I suggested “unfoldingobject.” Two words glued together to form one, unfoldingobject is a neologism I coined decades ago to account for that quality in certain works of art that provokes return looking and multiple readings each time you see the work, it is also a term designed to describe something I learned from a particular set of teachers. I began assembling artists as soon as I got home that day and have taken the better part of a year to pull this show together. As I considered which artists to include, I was looking for a particular feeling or quality in their work that fit the idea of unfoldingobject. I was less interested in assembling pieces that fit together visually and was more interested in cataloging collage’s eclecticism. That helped to define the scope of the show to a certain extent. But I know a lot of collage artists, and I needed a way to pare down the number to a manageable size. I gave myself a limitation to select, for the most part, people who have dedicated themselves to the genre of collage. I also capped the number of artists at 50, a practical limitation I needed to exact because,
With these parameters in place, I set out to gather a body of mostly paper-based collages but also selected a few examples of collage’s broader applications such as book art, objet trouvé (or in the case of Jack Massey, an assisted readymade), assemblage, and site-specific installation. On several occasions, I broke my own rule of one work of art per artist. Artists born before 1962—the 50th anniversary of the inception of fine art collage— were invited to show two pieces (from different genres). And whenever I broke this rule, it was always because it allowed for an unusually important consideration that expanded the understanding of what collage is. The work of art on the back cover by Varujan Boghosian was exhibited in place of the work on page 23, which was unavailable at the time of this exhibition. Once all the artwork was selected, I asked each artist to prepare a statement for the show responding to any of the following: collage; 1 + 1 = 3; unfolding imagery; slow read; poetic transformation; or a specific statement about a piece being exhibited. Artist statements are included in this catalog on the pages opposite their work. There are three generations of collage artists/teachers in this exhibition. Jack Massy taught Alfred DeCredico and Maureen McCabe in the 1960s; he taught me
(Todd Bartel) and Michael Oatman in the 1980s; and then he taught Bo Joseph and James Andrew Scott in the 1990s. Alfred DeCredico has been my primary influence regarding all things collage, and I extend a posthumous thank you acknowledgment by highlighting his work as the frontispiece for the show. Historically, first-generation Modernist collage artists include Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque as well as artists like Max Ernst, Hannah Höch, Joseph Cornell, and Méret Oppenheim—born during the late ninetiethcentury or the early Modernist period. Artists like Jack Massy, Alfred DeCredico, Maureen McCabe, Varujan Boghosian, China Marks, Charlie Nevad, W. David Powell, Marcus Ratliff, and Peter Thomashow are second-generation collage artists, the next wave after the initiators of "fine art" collage. Collage artists born after 1962—50 years after Picasso’s and Braque’s cubist papier collés experiments—are third-generation. Collage is a legacy passed between generations—from artists to artists, teachers to students, and any viewer/maker to anyone interested and so inclined. And of course, students can also inspire teachers. After I showed my collage paintings to my high school painting teacher, Charlie Nevad, he immediately began experimenting with collage—two of his collage-paintings are included in this exhibition. During the past four decades, Michael Oatman and I have been teaching and making collage, particularly invested in expanding the field of collage practices. In fact, when I coined the word “unfoldingobject” sometime in the early 1990s, it was as a way to describe the teaching we gleaned about collage from Alfred DeCredico and Jack Massey. I chose to focus this show on second- and thirdgeneration collage artists—those born in the mid 20thcentury, either before or after 1962. It is fitting that several artworks in the unfoldingobject exhibition refer to first-generation artists or even to a specific artwork by them. But I turned down the opportunity to include work by artists such as Joseph Cornell, for example, because I wanted to celebrate the power of the medium through the ways in which second- and third-wave artists have built upon those early foundations. Collage is everywhere you look, and I wanted to the show to reflect its breadth
and vitality in the here and now. I am indebted to Michael Oatman and W. David Powell for their introductions to several artists included in this exhibition. And I am further grateful for David’s orchestration of artists from the northwest region of Vermont, assembling the work and delivering it to Concord Art. His dedication to collage is a source of affirmation and shared affinity. And I owe a special thanks to Michael, my fellow collage mountaineer, for the countless hours spent discussing and plotting all things collage over the years—our ongoing dialog has spurred numerous creative endeavors. This show would not have become a reality were it not for Kate James and Susanah Howland. I have loved doing this project and am most grateful for this opportunity to explore the eclecticism of collage at Concord Art. I thank them for their tireless enthusiasm, kindness, and accommodations for helping me during the process of assembling this show. It takes a team to pull off an exhibition like this, and I am grateful for all their work as well as the support of the whole team at Concord Art, many of whom are volunteers. I also value Kate’s sense as a curator, her beautiful ability to organize a wide variety of art types into a cohesive feeling. I enjoyed collaborating with her on the show’s layout and deeply appreciate her attuned eye for establishing relationships between the works exhibited. Finally, I would like to appreciate Kate James as a catalyst, and her passionate descriptions of Concord Art’s history, which inspired an extraordinary project for unfoldingobject. During my first few visits to the gallery, she described how Boston’s first woman architect, Lois Lilley Howe (1864-1964), transformed the second floor into a beautiful sky-lit exhibition space in 1922. But she also suggested the possibility of an artist doing a piece in the skylight. So I suggested the idea to artist James Andrew Scott, who in turn created a site-specific installation. It was just a simple verbal connection that Kate shared, but making connections is the true power of collage, and it resulted in an extraordinary transformation of space. Todd Bartel, June 2019
unfoldingobject — the art of collage
1+1=3 Collage is odd math. One thing plus another thing equals a third thing.
unfoldingobject, n. 1. a work of art that resists instant legibility and reveals content and meaning through multiple viewings. 2. a work of art, often a collage, that is capable of being interpreted in various ways. 3. visual, emotional, associative, poetic, or conceptual transformation in a work of art.
“Unfoldingobject” is a neologism created to describe the quality in a particular work of art that provokes discovery upon each encounter. Collage making is a creative process that embodies the principles of unfoldingobject. It inherently incorporates materials used for dual or augmented purposes and typically involves combining retrofitted images and materials that together transform these parts into something new. It is an infinitely open process that allows artists to enfold ideas and experiences into a cohesive whole despite being born of fractured components. From the use and alteration of found and appropriated elements to the fabrication of materials and images created for specific purposes, collage-based art encourages looking, curiosity, and invention for artists and viewers alike. unfoldingobject showcases the art of 50 artists selected for the varying ways in which they couple and cobble together composite images. The collected works on view celebrate the myriad ways that collage artists listen to the picture to find opportunities and possibilities within found materials. unfoldingobject is an exhibition of artwork that values the slow read, and it showcases imagery that reveals and provokes connections over multiple viewings. Collage came into the vanguard of modern art in 1912 when Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque began adding paper elements they did not make themselves to their paintings and drawings. The "revolution of papier collé"
(Dianne Waldman) changed forever not only how paintings can be made, but how art in general can be made. Over the last century, collage evolved into a practice that has become boundless. It was emancipated from the confines of flat paper into the disciplines of the readymade, assemblage, installation art, performance art, and video art. The practice has become ubiquitous and is widely applied through every possible genre from Dada to Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism to Minimalism, Pop Art to Conceptual Art, and collage has been applied in every possible subject from stilllife to portraiture to landscape to political art. Furthermore, with the example of digital art, today collage can be made without using paper and glue. Collage is perhaps the only vehicle for creative expression that can incorporate any and all forms of expression and is therefore the most pluralistic and democratic of all art practices. Collage is particularly well suited to balance contrasting differences, multiple points of view, and any physical or cerebral material. Despite the ceaseless innovation that it provides, collage is often overlooked or dismissed as a respectable art form because it is typically, but not always, made with things an artist did not make themselves. Amidst longstanding attitudes about authorship and originality, artwork made by incorporating found, recycled, and reused materials is often deemed a lesser art form. Collage artists dismiss the criteria of originality, preferring to discard such blinders as too limiting. Collage artists understand what JeanLuc Godard meant when he stated, “It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to.” Prized highly by collage practitioners is the ability to see potential invention in scavenged materials by combining and altering them. Collage artists are alchemists, interested in the act of seeing that sparks a transformation of something old into something new.
What kind of glue holds together an idea, a visual relationship, a memory, a pattern, a poetic connection, a leap of the imagination or a call for justice? A collage may look easy to make, but that is a deceiving aspect of the process. Collages are all made by finding materials, minding how to use them, and ultimately binding them together. unfoldingobject provides opportunities to marvel at the use, the alteration and the transformation of created, found, and appropriated things. Visitors will find many examples of collage: traditional paper collage, assemblage, altered books, the fabrication of materials created for specific purposes, a readymade, and a sitespecific installation set into the second-floor gallery skylight. They will also find uncollage—a neologism to describe paintings and digital collage, among other forms of art, that are dependent on composite imagery but undo or otherwise hide its collage underpinnings. Collage-based art encourages looking, making connections, and mind play. Moreover, especially in today’s age of smartphones and tablets, which literally put the world and its history in our hands, unfoldingobject reminds us of the importance of the handmade work of art and the value of slowing down in order to take a second and third look. Todd Bartel, Curator, June 2019
Nancy Baker Greenie, 2018 paper construction, acrylic, archivally printed components, Fabriano paper 37 x 28 inches I am compelled to put things together. Underscoring the process of combining and interlocking forms in elegant configurations, I interweave mathematical data in my constructions that speak to a need for stasis and a reliable reality. The recent experience of living once again in an urban environment has sensitized me to the dominating forces of infrastructure, and to those corresponding interstitial spaces that arouse wonder and anxiety. The competition for space and sky has been instructive; my work reflects this struggle by recreating the battlefield in the studio and attempting to tame it, and ultimately, to own it. For me, there is solace in the geometry of fundamentals, and in a practice that focuses on the ephemeral nature of paper and the ease of its transportability, which allows me to create large-scale constructions. Working in components, I can build very large installations that are multilayered, and can significantly project outwards. Sometimes I weave in words and phrases but seek to partly obscure the written content by painting and slicing into the letters, integrating them into the overall structure of the piece. These typographical elements are usually simple phrases, expressing frustrations with a singularly disordered and impenetrable world. The phrase, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mistakes Were Made,â&#x20AC;? signifies a contemporary fear and suspicion that perhaps the enemy is invisible and unaccountable. 10
Sara Baker Michalak Faultlines, 2018 painted/drawn/photographed/collaged/decollaged imagery, gel medium, paper, tracing paper, graphite on stretched canvas 24 x 24 x 1.5 inches photo credit: Todd Bartel My work is about growth, maturation, decline, accumulation, and returnâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;our experience of time. The natural world's materials and processes are my reference points, touchstone, muse. Each of my collage works begins with layerings of my drawings, paintings and photographs of landscape. I then remove selected areas of the composition by sanding, scraping and washing to uncover portions of earlier layers. Now, the earlier and perhaps only partially remembered places merge with the later, and I reimagine: seeing the old anew takes us beyond, too. Faultlines is from a series that references an inner landscape of time. With the removal and abstraction of nearly all form, I suggest a nearly empty and intangible space for wandering and wondering. Webs of tiered and ethereal veils of color and a few rendered lines imply a cosmos only partially understood. Clear contrast absent from past/present/future conveys time's passage making all things ephemeral. All we have is the present moment: a fleet, ever-rolling and shifting sum. Is life more and more complicated and uncertain as we're flooded with all our memories, dreams and reflections? Or, does life become less and less complicated as meanings merge? Now takes time to unfold. 12
Todd Bartel Proportions and Table Manners, [Landscape Vernacular Series], 2014 burnished, puzzle-piece fit collage, 19th-century papers, end pages, marbled papers, Xerographic prints on antique end pages, toner transfers on rain eroded bulletin board papers, canceled stamp and envelope remnant, pencil, antique cellophane tape, archival document repair tape, yes glue and dictionary definitions, artist-made frame 24.5 x 19.125 inches The history of collage and the history of landscape painting are the same story. As unexpected as these seemingly separate genres are in the history of art, their cross curriculur intersection and union coincides between the rise of ecology and the advent of the Anthropocene. My current work is about understanding this relationship. Proportions and Table Manners examines the definition of the word "nature" and the sometimes symbiotic, sometimes commensal and sometimes parasitic relationship between respiration and photosynthesis. It examines the imbalance that has brought us to the threshold of this new epoch. 14
Todd Bartel Proportions and Table Manners [verso], 2014 The austere look of the series emanates from self-imposed limitations with materials and a process to incorporate them: end pages, book engravings and maps, digital technology and puzzle-piece collage. While I have an extensive library of paper books for making my collages, I also pull online archives for images and texts that can support the needs of any given work. Regarding digital technology, I am strict about not morphing, inventing or embellishing textual or visual information in the Landscape Vernacular collage series, but I sometimes edit and resize my found materials. I print onto period paper to fabricate source materials that are as close a facsimile as possible. I make technological hybrid collages using 19th and 20th-century materials re-made in the 21st century...I use a special method of collage I have evolved over time, similar to how jigsaw puzzles are made in which the pieces are all cut to fit together; the end result is much the same as the technique of inlaid veneer in fine woodworking. Cut pieces are burnished on the front and back of the collage to force the paper fibers to join into a seamless union... Burnished, puzzle-piece collages are obviously challenging and very time consuming to make, but the metaphor provided by the method is conceptually complimentary for this particular body of work: all cut elements play a vital role in the exploration of the subject for each individual collage, which incorporates many wide and disparate but literally connected material. A subjectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interconnectivity of ideas, events, portraits, and symbols drives the selection of imagery and the puzzle-piece collage process echoes the delicate interdependence between elements.* *Excerpts from Saranac Review No. 12, SUNY College at Plattsburgh, NY, 2016, pp. 104, 107-108.
Allan Bealy Insects [Exploded Box series], 2016 collage and transfer on opened box, mounted on canvas 12 x 15 inches Insects is a part of my Exploded Box collage series. There are innumerable ways to take advantage of the uneven plane of the substrate, as presented by an unfolded box. Flaps contrast, conflict, compliment or continue the story being told. Folds suggest a break in the narrative that may or may not be ignored. Dimension allows for a freedom from framing and a step away from the gallery wall. 18
Wayne Bertola Natural Philosophy, 2016 assemblage, salvaged wood, misc. printed paper ephemera, bone, patinated metal, wire, nails, string, latex house paint 12 x 11 x 03 Inches Anything that is strange, accidental, individual can become our portal to the universe. A face, a star, a stretch of countryside, an old tree, etc., may make an epoch in our inner lives. This is the great reality of fetish worship. Novalis, Neue Fragmente, No. 259
It is my hope that the work in question speaks for itself, in its own voice, without being burdened with autobiographical and or didactic references. If the work in question has any meaning in the accepted sense it is in its ability to combine found objects and images, the discarded debris of the once-functional and the most humble of materials in such a manner as to demonstrate their capacity for transformation into objects, that by the response they generate, engage the viewer in a creative dialogue of association, allusion, and reverie.
Varujan Boghosian Untitled, 2018 collage, Victorian scraps, cardboard box bottom 6 x 8.125 inches courtesy of Alexandre Gallery, New York, NY People ask if I have an idea of what Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m creating when I start collecting objects. The material usually dictates what the images are going to be. I always say you should just keep your eyes open for it...I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make anything. I find everything. Quoted by Debbie Kane, Varujan Boghosian's Magical Artistic Curiosities, The Take Magazine, June 25, 2017
Varujan Boghosian Still Life, c. 2000 collage, assemblage, canvas, crank 20.5 x 24.5 x 5 inches courtesy of Marcus Ratliff collection photo credit: Luciana Frigerio Myth is real to me. I work with the mystery of myth and the ambiguity of form. Which of these unions will survive alone? Doubt and change are constant challengers and under their persuasion there is no rest. The perfect introduction: the final piece. This question is the sole propellant. The old magnetic lure, once more, begins to force the play. Quoted by Robert M. Doty, Varujan Boghosian â&#x20AC;&#x201D; A Retrospective, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, 1989, top quote: p.18, bottom quote: p. 15
Andrea Burgay The Secret (In Memoriam), 2018 collage, sewing magazine, book pages, wall paper samples, acrylic, paper on hardboard panel, UV glaze 9 x 9 inches The Secret (In Memoriam) is a requiem of loss. The materials speak of the past and the passage of timeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;intangible, dissolving and reconstituting again through memory. 26
Laura Christensen Selective Memory (after Grandma Moses), 2016 assemblage, vintage photographs, acrylic paint, cherry wood, velvet, and brass knobs interactive 12 x 14 x 3.5 inches; drawers open 16 x 20 x 3.5 inches In creating a response to Moses’ work, I chose to celebrate her painting but critique aspects of the Grandma Moses phenomenon. Studying her art, I came to appreciate how Moses captured the rolling farmlands and soft, old mountains of our region. I “see” her vistas all around us now. I enjoy her transformations of paint blobs and brush strokes into little characters full of gesture, attitude and life. However, people’s willingness to champion the white-washed utopias presented in her pictures disturbed me. What about death, abuse, disease, and war? What about civil rights? People embraced Grandma Moses only shortly after women had received the right to vote and African Americans’ rights remained unprotected. In 1945 we exploded the first atomic bombs. Of course, life could be unbearable with tragedy always in the foreground. But constantly tuning out suffering and difference is just as dangerous. Two of the images in my piece can slide in and out. The top one drops away the moment you let go. Viewing the central Moses-like image in context of the pullouts reveals a more inclusive perspective that challenges a shuttered nostalgia evoked by Moses’ art. My process echoed appropriation methods that Moses employed. In fact, I borrowed source material from Moses’ own paintings. But my goals differed. My piece honors her work yet recognizes more diversity and questions romanticized notions of the past. 28
Alfred DeCredico untitled, 1983 collage, 19th-century book engravings, 19th-century marbled paper and map cuttings, orchid petal, pencil 5.375 x 8.125 inches courtesy of the Cesare DeCredico collection photo credit: Todd Bartel The images in my work are intended to function as visual hypertext. Umberto Eco best describes this concept as "a multidimensional network in which every point or node can be potentially connected with any other node." I use historic references, recognizable images, and real objects in my work as well as non-objective calligraphic marks and forms, which become meaningful when, placed in the context of "connection." These elements occupy a non-linear, non-representational, non-western spatial organization and are connected conceptually rather than literally or sequentially. In addition, I explore classical and mythical themes, seen through the filter of contemporary experience. Initially, the form and content of my work is open to a variety of interpretations. Allowing this encourages the viewer to construct an arena in which cognitive awareness and primal familiarity can potentially be understood. Having this informationâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;seeing the "self" in relation to this historyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;leads to the possibility of the deconstruction and redefinition of the "self" in relation to past experience. Freed from the dependence on time and place, the viewer is able to construct an authentic personal location where he/she is free of didactic or formal controls. Through a heightened awareness of "the authentic self," the possibility exists for the viewer to be able to develop new guides for the assimilation and interpretation of both the past and present, and, possibly, to anticipate the terms by which future conditions, conceivably, could occur. Empowered and invited to access "the authentic self," the viewer is given the ground on which to establish a new and heightened personal standard for acquiring experiential knowledge. [My work does not provide answers but rather the material from which questions are formulated, questions, which, through their structure and richness, could bring the viewer closer to an understanding of a personal ethic and his/her individual relation to human kind.] Connection, 2001 30
Alfred DeCredico Jerome, 1981 assemblage, cloth over Masonite, lace, acrylic, pencil, ink, tintype, xerographic print, photograph, wood inlay, steel rod, wood, straight pins, string, animal skull, 19th-century signed contract, steel plates, wood screws, plexiglass bonnet 15.5 x 13.625 x 3.5 inches courtesy of the Cesare DeCredico collection photo credit: Todd Bartel I am an observer. I do not presume to judge in my work. To do so would invalidate my function as "observer." I am a questioner. I am a hunter in search of a symbolic world in which there is the ability for instantaneous change. I am in search of a world with the capacity to accept and reject objectively, without grave consequences for the growth of the whole. I am the signaler!* *Excerpt from a statement written for The End of the Hunter, exhibition at Scott Alan Fine Arts, New York, 1993.
Diane DelliCarpini Carnival Closing, 2013 collage, acrylic, acrylic medium, stain, canvas board 9 x 12 inches I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have anything in mind when I start to work. Until a piece is completed, I cannot clearly see what is there. They are about emotions. In some way, the piece is my sole focus as everything else fades away. Collage is like meditation. I am lost, playing with cut pieces of paper in my hands. I let the images, tones and textures that call to one another, be together. I escape into the world of collage, creating unity with soft textures or a surreal space. 34
Adrienne Der Marderosian Traces of Memory, No. 3, 2015 collage, xerographic print, glassine, vellum tape, graphite, map 7.875 x 3.125 inches photo credit: George Lynde Traces of Memory, No. 3 contemplates the physical and psychological journeys that exiles face when forced to leave their country of origin. Feelings of anonymity, alienation and displacement are considered in this collage. Part of my ongoing series entitled Tattoo Trails II, this piece is inspired by a video still from Erwin Wurm's Shopping, 1995-96. 36
Ben DiNino Two viAls, 1997-2004 excavated “A”s and “a”s from The Sc rlet Letter 4.25 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches each The Sc rlet Letter was the piece which led me to my biblio excavations. I had a close group of friends at art school. After graduation there was a strange period of time where everyone was having affairs with each other causing havoc to the group dynamic. One friend had a fling with another who was married and somehow the blame fell solely on her. I remember meeting her for coffee and her saying she felt ousted from the group like she had a big red “A” tattooed on her forehead, a reference to the scarlet letter the main character in the novel has to wear, sewn onto her clothing for having a child out of wedlock. I picked up an old copy of the book from a thrift store and decided to cut out all the “A”s from the book and give it to her as a gesture of friendship. This project took much longer than expected. I started cutting out the “A”s in 1996 a page or two a day. In time I began growing away from these friends and soon left to teach English in South Korea. The book got packed away with the rest of my belongings and stored in my parent’s garage. Upon my return in 2003 I rediscovered the project. I had long lost touch with its intended recipient but the daily practice of cutting out “A”s became a sort of meditative exercise. I finished it in 2004 and it has been on displayed in my home ever since. I saved all the liberated “A”s which are housed in Two viAls. I originally had hopes of using them to make their own piece but all my ideas seemed a bit trite or obvious. I’ve come to like their storage vessels that sit on display next to their former home. The mindless action of cutting out the “A”s in The Sc rlet Letter led me to the idea of excavating other books to expose the artwork that had been ever present in their texts. Since 2005 I’ve created over 100 of these book collages. 38
Ben DiNino The Sc rlet Letter, 1997-2004 1892 edition published by the Henry Altemus Company, all “A”s and “a”s removed 6.5 x 4.25 x 1 inches (closed); 6.5 x 9 x 1 inches (open) 40
Ben DiNino How Things Work, 2019 biblio excavation (originally published in 1982) 9.75 x 6.25 x 1.5 inches (closed); 9.75 x 6.25 x 9 inches (open) How Things Work is one of my biblio excavations. I start from the back of the book cutting page by page leaving only selected images. As I work the illustrations at the back of the book become overlaid and obscured. Once finished I seal the text block shut so that only the cover opens. This creates a collage that was ever present in the book. I love the fact that these works can be housed on a shelf with the rest of your readable library when not being exhibited. In How Things Work I was drawn to the mechanical imagery and the play between their orange highlights and the blue tones of the end papers. 42
Rich Fedorchak The Catskills [Picturesque America 1874 Series], 2010 collage, books cuttings, medical conference brochure, a metallic iridescent sticker, and transparent Avery dots 7 x 5 inches As a collage/assemblage artist I tend to work in an intuitive fashion starting with a single image or background that has sparked my imagination. As further elements are gradually added they often find their own place in the final composition over time through trial and error. Thus, I often don't know when I first start a new piece where it will end up. The final image and it's "meaning", if there is one, gradually unfolds in the process. The Catskills is a typical product of this process. In taking stock of my particular aesthetic recently I realized that I tend to create gently surreal mystical utopian worlds that present an alternative to the sometimes harsh realities of life in the 21st century. I think that my work may act as an antidote to the daily news of human and animal suffering, violence, racism, and global environmental disaster. Perhaps by creating worlds of wonder instead of endless wars, I am trying to achieve some sort of self-healing. 44
Anna Fine Foer Peâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ah: From the Corners of Our Fields, 2012 collage, photos, silver metallic ink, 300lb hot press watercolor paper 21 x 25 inches The Torah's model of tzedakah (social justice and support) includes a variety of agricultural gifts. Grain and produce that were left or forgotten during the harvest were available for the poor to glean. The corners of the fields (pe'ah) were also designated for the poor. A biblical source for these laws comes from Leviticus 19:9-11: When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the corner of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest.Â You shall not pick your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger; â&#x20AC;Ś
In this case, the donation is power, gleaned from a field of solar panels.
Paul Forte Dark Web (Machinations), 2018 collage, xerographic prints on board with canvas border 40 x 60 inches Dark Web (Machinations) seems at first non-representational, or formally “abstract,” although its elements or components are recognizable as delineations of gears or machine parts. A large collage made from about a dozen photocopied diagrams of gear mechanisms, enlarged and printed in negative (white lines on a black field), the work represents a troubling aspect of contemporary life by way of a visual metaphor. The title of the work alerts the viewer to this representational aspect and is in keeping with the visually intricate, almost diaphanous web of lines that make for a bewildering, overlapping network. “Dark Web” is, of course, the term for that part of the Internet where immoral, illicit, and even criminal activity festers. In a sense, it is the sinister, dark underside of the brave new (digital) world. If the Internet can be somehow compared to the human psyche, the machinations of this dark realm are not unlike, or in some ways parallel to or are correlated with, the unconscious. The Dark Web is infamous as an underworld of intrigue, pitfalls, shadows and dark corners; the purview of hackers, spies, pornographers, and terrorists, which are in some ways analogous to the manifestations of the unconscious. But unlike the unconscious, whether personal or collective, it is questionable if there is anything redeemable or potentially creative in what the Dark Web churns up. On the other hand, it might be argued that this is a raw, darkly creative realm in spite of or perhaps because of its moral, ethical and legal entanglements. Whatever, the underside of the Internet, much like the unconscious, sometimes erupts into the digital daylight, bringing unwanted and often disturbing intrusions. In fact, for many the mesmerizing allure of the Internet, its growing control over many lives, and its expanding influence in social, political and economic matters and its subtle and not so subtle erosion of our sense of reality, may be changing the nature of human consciousness. The Dark Web, to some extent represents a kind of technological or digital psychosis. It is a madness that is only a keystroke away. The Dark Web is a beguiling snare for the unwary, the dark underside of the new technology that might have unforeseen social, political and economic implications for not only those caught in or spinning this web, but perhaps eventually for everyone dependent upon a digital “world” that would supplant our physical connections to life. Excerpt from Selected Works and Essays 1974-2018, Paul Forte, 2018.
A note on the idea of “Poetic Transformation” My use of found material to make art is central to the process of poetic transformation. The use of such material dates from 1972, the beginning of a fecund period of transition when artists influenced by Conceptual art continued to employ found material in their art but also began experimenting with commonplace things alongside a new attitude toward traditional media and techniques. While assemblage has been a mainstay of my work ever since, using found images, texts, illustrations, and so forth for collage purposes only began sometime after 2000. Whether assemblage or collage, my art tends to be rigorous and determinative, which entails combining or juxtaposing found material without submerging its identity as such. The point is to transform common objects and images by juxtaposing the material, thus imbuing it with thought or embodying it with a poetic idea(s). The closely related techniques of assemblage and collage have been the primary means of realizing these ideas for over four decades. My work encourages those who engage with it to ask why art is important, even necessary to our development as human beings. My writings about specific artworks are meant to suggest as much, or at least raise issues to be further explored by the audience.
Paul Forte Ringing Silence, 2012 assemblage, alarm bell, map, biology textbook pages in a wood case 13.5 x 16.75 x 12.5 inches (open) Ringing Silence has a political message concerning the precarious state of the natural environment. The work is a wood case housing a red alarm bell, a map of the arctic (with lines of latitude emphasized in red), and biology textbook pages discussing the origin of the species. An alarming (no pun intended) global temperature graph on the front page of the February 7th, 2019 issue of The New York Times plots the steady overall climb in the earth’s warming since 1880. The graph forcefully drives home the fact of global warming, which is now accelerating climate change, something that is becoming more and more evident through increasingly erratic weather, sea rise, and other weather-related disasters. Some artists are taking note of these facts and making art that reflects a deep concern over what is happening and the lack of any urgent response to the situation, primarily by states and other political actors. If the majority of the planet’s people are aware of climate change (perhaps many are even aware of our role in all this), then how useful is art in this context? Is science, rather than art, better equipped to further educate the public about the dire predicament that we humans are contributing to? Such questions, it seems, in turn raise questions about the efficacy of politically motivated art. Does art like Ringing Silence, art with a social or political message, unequivocal or otherwise, serve any real purpose, for instance, in terms of activism? Can art contribute anything substantial to what is already understood by many in relation to our existential predicament? Can or should art take on a moral responsibility through, if nothing else, the issuing of warnings, proclamations, and so forth? Ringing Silence issues a clear and unequivocal warning about climate change, suggesting by virtue of its title the dark possibility of that old adage: “out of sight, out of mind.” While few of us will ever find ourselves in the arctic witnessing disappearing ice, as time goes on we will undoubtedly experience more and more of the effects of a warming planet in terms of intense weather events, coastal flooding, and raging forest fires. The question is: given our apparent inability to fully grasp the seriousness of our situation can a work like Ringing Silence, even under the best of circumstances, have any political efficacy or impact? Or does this work and work like it reduce an existential crisis to a few safely contained symbols and merely act to defuse or downplay an explosive reality, and if nothing else morally and emotionally placate the artist and his or her audience? It may be that art with a message is ultimately ineffective, that direct action is the only thing that offers the possibility of turning the tide. I believe that this is true, yet there is no reason to abandon making art with a message, particularly if doing so strengthens the artist’s and the audience’s commitment to speak out and get involved. Excerpt from Selected Works and Essays 1974-2018, Paul Forte, 2018.
Antonio FrĂ¤ppa Primavera en Montserrat, 2019 collage, book cutouts, double-sided tape 26.375 x 15.125 inches Cut, Paste & Entangle! I dedicated this piece to Montserrat Aguilar MartĂnez who was my girlfriend and 3 years ago (precisely this spring), who died of cancer. This piece is very important for my work because I start to handle dark themes through beautiful compositions (textures, luminosity, bright colors, etc.) With this piece I am healing the absence of Montserrat, while I pay homage to her life. FUCK CANCER !! 52
Luciana Frigerio, 2017 Book Slice Page 66 (above) Book Slices series [12 pieces of 46] collage, book pages, art catalogue pages 5.75 x 4.25 inches (each) Book Slice Page 66 Book Slice Page 78 Book Slice Page 79 Book Slice Page 24
Book Slice Page 114 Book Slice Page 102 Book Slice Page 134 Book Slice Page 14
Book Slice Page 91 Book Slice Page 30 Book Slice Page 82 Book Slice Page 18
My current work explores the deconstruction and re-working of the book. A book can tell a story in many different ways, and I am interested in playing with that concept, making new stories from existing books. These pieces exhibited are all taken from the pages an 1800â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s book of childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s morality tales that I have sliced, transformed, and given new meaning. 54
Ginnie Gardiner August, 2011 collage, torn Epson Photo Luster Paper mounted on Strathmore Vellum, film adhesive 9.3 x 6.8 inches Nearly always, the formal structureâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and space itselfâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is more compact in the collages than in the paintings. The collages, of course, are smaller and yet that is not the entire explanation, for the details of Gardinerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s images acquire a charge of condensed pictorial power from having been developed and refined in the more intimate medium. Transposed to canvas, her images gain not only in size but in scale. They feel larger, more open. Yet they lose none of the intimacy or the intensity bestowed on them by their origins. Carter Ratcliff, Space and Intensity, 2016
Designing the collage August, I thought of the graphic reduction of elements from my photographs in Photoshop as a digital silk-screen. The separation of the artifacts of the lens using the matting techniques available to me in digital manipulation helped achieve this result. 56
Ginnie Gardiner August, 2012 uncollage, oil, canvas 60 x 40 inches In formulating the groundwork for the painting, August, I preserved the torn edges of my collage in the translation into an oil painting. It made pictorial sense to preserve the breathing space generated by juxtaposing the photo fragments as a felt response to the canvas. The Figural element in the vertical landscape in the courtyard on an August day almost dissolves into the stucco wall â&#x20AC;&#x201C; like a desert mirage; the yellows denoting the midday heat. 58
Deb Goldstein Science of Attraction, 2014 collage, brown wax paper bag, paper ephemera, glass slide, vellum, Wellfleet reed 11 x 11 inches It is her gaze outward that is a spear of ambivalence in relation to the male gaze, while it appears sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s found a sight more attracting that creates the emotion, tension and transformation in this collage. For him, the "SHE" above him shows his preoccupation with her that draws him in but it is unfulfilled. His stance and the chemistry are contained. The lines are to draw the eye about so you see each individual image and object but also to see it as a whole. You have to step back and then get close. Translucent materials such as a brown wax paper bag and images on vellum create the layering to give more visual depth so images combine for a new image. It is always my mission to present a storyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;open to anyone who wants to tell it. 60
Kathy Greenwood Dishes 2, 2014 uncollage, oil on vintage linen napkin 17 x 17 inches photo credit: McGreevy Pro Lab The objects and images that populate my work allude to stories, relationships and observations of daily living. I’m drawn to the way that the ephemera of home—heirlooms, implements and cast-offs—can invoke a host of memories and conjecture. In this series, linen napkins form both the surface and subject of the painting. The careful stitching, cutwork and material culture associated with the textile object are indivisible from the rendering of stacked dish-ware. The overlap of artifact and image affords new expanses of meaning and association. 62
Rachel Hibbard Green, Heater (Running) 2004 Xerographic prints, book pages, enamel, ink, offset drawing, glassine, collage, shellac, stamp, straight pins 58 x 67.5 inches photo credit: Bill Bachhuber A panoramic collage, the series refers to the Gregorian calendar, but my calendar is not seasonal. It is a progression of days that clump into (monthesques) and advance through a spectrum of colors. In each grouping, imagery combines into visual constellations with recurrent images acting as refrains. Each month/monthesque, is named for a common object. The days' names are common actions. If one was to use this system in speech it would sound likeâ&#x20AC;ŚPaying the 2nd of Chair or Getting the 14th of Spoon. Months: 1. Chair; 2. Plane; 3. TV; 4. Spoon; 5. Table; 6. Car; 7. Hall; 8. Heater; 9. Boat; 10. Refrigerator; 11. Pants; 12. Bed. Days: Paying; Watching; Filling; Putting; Getting; Moving and Laying; Materials: It is important to me that I am not adding many more things to the world. Each page has existed in a book, I overlay and reconfigure them, very much as an editor might have done before me. 64
Angela V. Holland Who I Canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t See, 2016 collage, paper, acrylic 9.75 x 9.75 inches Torn papers, random marks, frantic scribbles: with these I paint my visual poems, open portals to an unseen world. Though eyes be averted and heads bowed, the gaze remains above a willful obfuscation. 66
Marnie Jain The Mending Room, 2012 collage, magazine paper 24 x 18 inches photo credit: Michael Harkavy The Mending Room was created in response to a call for art that involved story. The birds in the mending room recover from the injuries of the world. Enjoy the ambiguity of space. Now transformed by small bolts and bits of repair, they move in the ambiguity of the room as they might in a tree, close but cautious, vigilant, and curious. 68
Marnie Jain The Conversation, 2014 collage, magazine paper 18 x 18 inches photo credit: Michael Harkavy This work developed as a sensory experience of color and texture. The warm vibrations of deep browns, the way a yellow pulls you toward it, and how one can almost feel the reds swelling inside the mouth. Unfinished, this work was set aside, as works sometimes are, when the colors slowed and grew still. Then one day, a friend casually tossed down a piece of green paper, and the collage awoke, and the colors spoke, and the conversation began. 70
Bo Joseph Disunified Theory: Entropic Shift, 2017 uncollage, oil pastel, acrylic, tempera; collage, paper mounted on panel 40 x 50 inches courtesy of Sears-Peyton Gallery, New York, NY photo credit: Kevin Noble Drawing is the foundation of my practiceâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;dedicated to appropriation, process, and dialectical content. Co-opting images of cultural symbols and ritual objects whose charge transcends anthropological and temporal boundaries, I mine and mirror the frenetic discord throughout history, seeking commonalities among disparate, often extinct ideologies. To examine and assimilate how their resonance resists or reconciles within shifting contexts, I negate these appropriated sources with subtractive and additive drawing techniques. From my archive of clippings, auction catalogs and personal photographs, I transcribe monochromatic oil pastel silhouettes and outlines onto an irregular patchwork of paper sheets, which are then disassembled and coated with water-based tempera. After scraping with a razor and coating with acrylic-based ink, I rinse them in water, dry and re-assemble them. These chancy initial stages result in allusive fields from which I circumscribe the now absent objects with linear halos of color. Like some post-disaster excavation of a heterogeneous museum, Polynesian currencies, Bauhaus chairs, African masks and reliquary figures commingle with Flemish candelabra, Pre-historic tools and Ancient Roman architectural shards, proffering fragmentary vignettes of transitory syncretism. With these tattered allegories of disintegration and reunion I ponder questions about how beliefs filter perception and prejudice the accumulation of collective knowledge. 72
Clive Knights Theatre of Consciousness, 2013 cut paper, acetate, on paper 7 x 5.5 inches I make collages as a poet composes a poem; taking phenomena already laden with a meaning spawned by their existing contribution to everyday life, and re-awakening them through new configurations and alliances. As the poet borrows words from the general lexicon and re-casts their relationships, so I borrow images and materials and perform a similar poetic act. My collage work is handmade with ripped and cut paper, often incorporating slivers of my own handmade prints, and augmented with transparent acetate overlay that brings qualities of depth. I welcome the fragmented and the umbral into the work just as one invites the stranger into oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home as a gesture of hospitality in the face of the unknown. It is through the transformative potential of metaphor, where, as Aristotle reminds us in his Poetics, likeness is discovered among things that differ, that I configure a new familiarity with the world, searching for moments of proximity towards a common horizon, always fully present but never fully revealed, yet embodied, with hope, in the conspirational synthesis of each emergent collage. 74
Erika Lawlor Schmidt Snow On Snow On Snow, [Meanwhile the Antarctic Melts series], 2010 collage on Arches B.F.K. 43 x 33 inches photo credit: George Bouret The “third thing” evoked by collage is a potent and mind-bending proposition. For me, the “third thing”—maybe like a “third eye”—is that ecstatic, melancholic, visceral flash, split-second of knowing and remembering of BEING IN the past, present and future all at once where everything, everything is revealed—and yet simultaneously falling away and apart. 76
Kerith Lisi Resist Patchwork, 2019 fabric headbands from discarded books, adhesive, bookbinding thread, watercolor paper on foamcore mounted to wood board 16 x 16 x 1 inches For years, I have collected the little fabric endbands and headbands when taking apart discarded and salvaged books. Not just decorative in nature, the bands are placed at the top of the book to help resist pulling at the spine when it is taken from the shelf. I wasn't sure what do to with them until the election of 2016. My whole life, I have felt progress was being made in social justice issues, but in 2016, that no longer felt true. Born from the desire to replace despair with hope, this piece was created as a reminder that strength can be found in small things, not always immediately visible. When these small things join together, a fabric of resistance is created. 78
D. Dominick Lombardi Reverse Collage #7, 1995 acrylic and vintage newspaper on wood 16 x 24 inches The unfolding process in the earlier Reverse Collage series was somewhat unique to the series in general. The 1950s and 60s vintage newspaper I used was coated with three layers of clear acrylic medium on both sides to make it durable. After attaching the sealed newspaper to a wood panel with more acrylic medium, I proceeded to paint the modernist black and white landscape using the attached newspaper the way one would normally use a blank canvas. The original newspaper was completely covered with opaque paint, and the final step was to cut into the painted surface to reveal small precise sections of excavated newspaper. Removing cut sections of the overpainting revealed the backs of the newspaper—with backwards text visible through the remaining paper pulp—hence the reverse ‘unfolding’ collage. 80
Keith Maddy Roger, 2017 collage, vintage children's coloring books, ephemera circa 1950's, Sears catalogue circa 1910, acid free glue stick, diluted wallpaper paste 11 x 11 inches photo credit: Dorian Color Courtesy of the Artist & Howard Yezerski Gallery My collages, while fast moving, intricate and layered, are also a slow read unearthing and discovering hidden fragments of images and meaning. Figures floating, flying, swimming, jumping, playing, Roger, could be any number of imaginary friends extracted and named by a playing childâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;"message received," and/or the little known 17th century slang. 82
China Marks And She Cast a Spell to Bind Him to Her, 2017 fabric, thread, lace, screen-printing ink, fusible adhesive on a contemporary tapestry copy of Vermeerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s The Lace Maker 26.5 x 18.25 inches photo credit: Jeffrey Scott French Since the fall of 2014, in addition to books, broadsides, and all kinds of other drawings, I have been working on a series of drawings on contemporary tapestry copies of 13th-20th Century paintings, variously collaging and sewing into them, subverting both imagery and narrative, and writing dialogue and commentary which I embroider out and sew down. I call the finished drawings "altered paintings," which does not make clear how much was done to them before I ever laid a hand on them: how badly copied, cropped, edited they had been, how coarsely re-decorated, and finally woven pixelated, on digital looms, using yarns colored with modern dyes. In effect, just like the rest of our history, they were massively and repeatedly interfered with. That is why I like working with them. I can make them fully alive again using collage and drawing to turn them into something else. 84
Jack Massey Castle, 2010 + 2019 collage, distressed paper, color pencil, fabric, silver coated German paper, acrylic 27.25 x 39.125 inches photo credit: Todd Bartel There are many ways to engage color. Artists, over the centuries, have approached color in their own waysâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;not with systems or rigid formulas, but with their own means. Many have written about color; it remains a mystery. The best of them accept the challenge with energy and by experimenting in their own ways may achieve something that they find acceptable at times. But the mystery of color remains for us to perceive and wonderâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;as it should be. We are a constantly changing set of experiences. What we saw yesterday is not what we see today or tomorrow. Do you think that the painting that you experienced yesterday looks the same today? Color is a part of all this. Nothing is static! 86
Jack Massey P. P. Ruiz’s Bike, 1984 & 2016 readymade, c. 1900 Peugeot bicycle, imported from Pau, France, plinth 34.25 x 70 x 14 inches courtesy of the Cesare DeCredico collection photo credit: Todd Bartel Nobody ever thinks about the bike. Picasso’s Bull’s Head, made from the bicycle's handlebars and seat, was a revelation to me when I first saw it. I’m still enamored with that piece. It’s a great transfer of values used explicitly to present something new. In using the bicycle without the handlebars and the seat, I was trying to express my thoughts about what the rest of the bicycle appeared to be. Was it still a bicycle, was it still related to Picasso’s Bull’s Head from 1943, or was it something else? I saw this old ratty looking bike and I thought of Picasso’s Bull’s Head coming from a bike, and I thought why not show the rest of the bike—nobody talks about it with the seat and the handle bars removed. So I thought that was important because in showing the bike that way, it should evoke thoughts of Picasso’s Bull’s Head. It transfers one’s thoughts to something that doesn’t presently exist before you. I like games like that. I suppose that I’ve played them now and then. 88
Maureen McCabe Amazon Women, 2003 assemblage on double slate, dyed red snake spines, beetle wings, wooden darts with cotton, 19thcentury cutout prints, feathers, metal toy monkeys, small toy plane, silver breast milagro 20 x 24 x 4 inches photo credit: Sean Flynn Amazon Women combines truth and fiction. Carved into the slate is a representation of the Amazon River. Two Greek mythological figures, Amazon women, stand on the river’s bank. They are warriors poised to kill, yet surrounding them are clues to their own possible doom. The constellation of Hercules in the night sky and the number nine allude to the fact that the Amazon Queen Hippolyte will die as a result of Hercules’ ninth labor. However, not all is lost. Dire acts have been predicted but haven’t taken place yet. Protection comes in the form of beetle wings and snake spines from an Amazon shaman’s necklace. A monkey holds aloft a milagro of a silver breast, symbolically restoring the lost one. 90
Maureen McCabe Amazon Women [verso], 2003 92
Maureen McCabe The Maze, 1976 (restored 2019) slate chalkboard, ribbons, stones, hair, bristles, 19th-century cut out prints, gouache 27.25 x 39.25 x 2 inches photo credit: Sean Flynn The Maze is based on a poem entitled In and Out of the Horn-Beam Maze by the celebrated Scottish ballad writer Helen Adam (1909-1993). In the poem, four children in the midst of mid-summer play run into the center of a maze, but only three come out. Flora does not. When she reached the center nothing was there. Nothing! Nothing! Nowhere, nowhere! Only silence, and radiant air. She never ran out of the maze.
Only a hair ribbon caught on a thorn and a silver ring are left to remember Flora. These are the last remnants of her mortal life. Like Flora, we all enter the maze of life not knowing what we will find along the way or when we will be transformed. 94
Talin Megherian Khatchkar No. 5, 2016-18 composite painting, comprised of 18 parts; gouache, ink, gesso, watercolor paper 71.625 x 30.5 inches photo credit: Todd Bartel In Armenia, "khatchkar" are large carvings on stone slabs. A donor hires a sculptor to carve beautifully intricate patterns and a cross into stone, along with an inscription of a prayer. Altogether, khatchkars are a kind of prayer for peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s souls made physical. They are usually made for the donorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parents or loved ones, but can also be made for anyone in general. Khatchkars are not to be confused with tombstones, but they always have crosses on them and are typically showcase compartmentalized designs. In my khatchkar paintings, I abstract the crosses and play off of the tradition by assembling multiple paintings on paper to form the compartments and the cross within the khatchkar. The imagery within each panel of my khatchkars addresses family stories along with stories I have read about the Armenian Genocide. 96
Charlie Nevad Mother Love, 1984 collage, paper, Masonite 48 x 24 inches photo credit: Miguel Pagliere I am more interested in the inner man than in his persona. My paintings therefore need the inner response of the spectator. They are not portraits; they are what the spectator feels for them. I, as the artist, cannot answer what my paintings really are. They are an inner response most often beyond my consciousness. I present them to you as the spectator; respond which way you will. The truth is somewhere between us. 98
Charlie Nevad Cavern and Bugs, 1984 oil, collage on canvas 40 x 30 inches photo credit: Miguel Pagliere 100
Michael Oatman Germinal Velocity (By the Time I Get to Phoenix, She'll be Rising), [center detail], 2013 historic book cuttings on paper on board, frame made in collaboration with the artist's father, Gordon Oatman 48 x 96 inches photograph courtesy of Miller/Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA Collage 1 + 1 = 3 As a teacher of art, this is perhaps the most important equation for me. It’s a beautiful ode to the politics, surprise and fury of collage. But in terms of my own work, it’s more like 1+1 = 2.66, or something not quite a whole number. I spend such extended periods developing my collages—hunting for images, making drawn studies, writing about them—that it feels like they are pre-visualized in the manner of a Hitchcock film storyboard. To him, the movie was finished long before filming took place. It is not unusual for me to gather material for years, but in the assembly process, which might take hours or days, some of the thrill of my time as a painter returns, and final decisions about placement, new images and last minute modifications are made rapidly. That ‘fury of the finish’ saves my collages from feeling labored over, or staying too much like what has resided—often unchanged for years—in my head. Unfolding Imagery I end up reading a great deal of the texts surrounding my source material—the pictures—often to the detriment of ‘efficient production.’ I want the viewer to experience some of my search, a process that feels like I am being turned inside out. I think of it as ‘excessive visualization.’ The viewer can get lost, see more on a subsequent scan and operate much like I do when I’m cutting out pictures. Seeing as making. Slow Read I have borrowed many techniques from cinema with the end goal of slowing down the viewer’s engagement with narrative, form and space/time. The unavoidable joinery that comes with assembling continuous images out of the hundreds (or thousands) of separate cuttings requires a reckoning with each edge, in every direction. I have taken to exploiting longer, lower picture proportions to simulate a camera pan, seeking to propel the viewer along, observing while walking. In this regard I have been influenced by the long format abstract paintings of David Reed and the framebreaking landscapes of George Herriman’s early comic masterpiece, “Krazy Kat.” Poetic Transformation For several decades now I have referred to my art practice as “the poetic interpretation of documents.” Working in archives, libraries and collections both institutional and private, I encounter material that I cannot physically manipulate, but it serves to guide me toward ideas. With the material I purchase (or am bequeathed), the transformations can be as simple as the addition of one other piece, or as complex as a kind of ‘urbanism of imagery,’ accumulations of thousands of hand cut components. I once likened the larger works to a coral reef, but lately I have been thinking of them as “flattened installations.” A Specific Statement About the Piece Being Exhibited: Germinal Velocity What will we bring to the new worlds we colonize beyond Earth? Our technology, surely, but also our diseases, as we have done in the past. But what about our bad food, sports teams, manufactured goods, capitalism, and class systems? “Germinal Velocity” presupposes the cancerous effects of human culture on other worlds. In 2010 or 11, my father phoned with a proposal for a “new kind of art – something no one has done before,” he claimed. He then asked whether I was coming home for Thanksgiving: “Yes,” I replied, “now what’s your idea?” “I’ll just show you when you get here,” he promised. When I arrived home, we went into his shop and he produced a sketch of a picture frame in the form of a Hopi Thunderbird. “I’ll make these shaped frames,” he said, “and you’ll fill ‘em.” For decades my parents had constructed objects for my installations—a kind of collaboration—but this was the first time my Dad had ever initiated a project. For 25 years I had waited for this offer and then spent two years trying to figure out what to put in this frame. (Gordon J. Oatman, 1937-2018). 102
Michael Oatman Germinal Velocity (By the Time I Get to Phoenix, She'll be Rising), 2013 104
Sherry Parker Scherzo, 2014 collage, enamel, vintage paper 8.5 x 7.5 inches Scherzo is a perfect illustration of my approach to collage. CHANCE is my muse. What excites me about this medium are the ideas that flow from chance: the serendipitous discovery of "found" materials, the random (unconscious) selection process, the fortuitous mistakes, and the bringing together of disparate ephemera to begin the formation of order out of chaos. Oxymoronically, I call my process "orchestrated chance." Scherzo, incidentally, also means "joke" or "jest" in Italian. 106
Cory Peeke Eclipse, 2019 collage, adhesive tapes of many varieties, found images, charcoal, mixed media on Dura-lar 14 x 11 inches Anxiety and control. Impermanence and obscurity. These works are the manifestation of my relationship to the imprecision of memory. Like remembrance, they are seemingly unique yet inexact and only temporary. 108
W. David Powell The Limits of Division, 2010 collage, acrylic, cut paper from old textbooks, atlases and children's science encyclopedias, mounted on birch panel 16 x 12 inches At a glance, my work, The Limits of Division, appears to have a rational—even didactic—narrative. Spend a bit more time with it. If you slow down and take the time to parse the imagery, you will see that the unfolding narrative is a farce. The encyclopedic style of the graphics make sense visually, its highly organized grid structure and the geographic and scientific images are deceptive. They don’t tell a linear story; they simply present it in a way that begs interpretation. Slow down, take some time, give those screen-gazing eyes a break, enjoy your own senses and sensibilities, invent your own story. 110
W. David Powell Turn of the Shrewd, 2017 unique archival inkjet print of a cut paper collage on a mechanic’s ledger 11.625 x 13.625 inches It is hard to know the unfolding nature of images in the age of “deepfake,” a machine learning technique known as generative adversarial network. In both print and moving images, it has become harder to ascertain the true nature of reality. Turn of the Shrewd, originally a cut paper collage, is a unique piece of work composed of images cut from books from various eras of print technology mounted on the handwritten text of a mechanic’s ledger. Now it also exists as a “unique digital print”. Is this an oxymoron? Can there be a unique digital print? In the introduction to the book, The Jean Freeman Gallery Does Not Exist, Christopher Howard, its author, posits that: artists like Ed Ruscha found printed communication to be influential, ‘not so much for the content of it, but the curiosity of the thing itself.’ He was part of a generation of artists who learned just as much from reproductions of artists in print as they learned from direct exposure to the real thing. By the early 1970s, the explosion of advertisements initiated and designed by artists in both art magazines and the mainstream press not only relinquished a dependence on traditional media…but also denied the authority of galleries and museums.
With the advent of scanners and high-quality digital printers, reproductions of original art came within the reach of personal artistic production. This change in printing technology, along with the wide use of social media, provided a world of vast opportunities for the personal dispersal of images. Now in the era of the proliferation of internet distribution—of not just still images—but digitally manipulated representations of people on video, that allow us to see the Mona Lisa talking, with her enigmatic smile moving in a virtual reality that is quite believable. Examples like this are benign, but lead to the inappropriate and dangerous ability to put damaging images of public figures forward in the public realm. Images that could sway political opinion and enhance the broad reach of disinformation in an already troubling world of fake news. There are many ethical dilemmas that these new technologies present to the world of both art and politics—will only the shrewd survive? 112
Gerri Rachins Red Herring 2827, 2011-2015 collage with artist's residual drawing fragments, graphite, ink, and gouache on paper, mounted to panel 8 x 8 x 1 inches [left] Gerri Rachins Red Herring 2754, 2011-2015 collage with artist's residual drawing fragments, graphite, ink, and gouache on paper, mounted to panel 19 x 18 x 1 inches [center] Gerri Rachins Red Herring 2659, 2011-2015 collage with artist's residual drawing fragments, graphite, ink, and gouache on paper, mounted to panel 22 x 16 x 2 inches [right] photo credit: Ileana Hernandez A “red herring” is an idiomatic expression in the English language. It may be defined as a detail or remark inserted into discussion—intentionally or unintentionally—that sidetracks the main topic being discussed. It is often emotionally charged so that the participants in the discussion are diverted to go after the “red herring,” thereby forgetting the topic of their initial discussion. The Red Herring collages reflect my thoughts about living in a media driven society in which everything clamors for our attention at the same time, and a cognitive state of partial attention is the norm. They play with boundaries between drawing, painting, and collage. They use materials unexpectedly and are infused with my own sense of alchemy. My process includes tearing and cutting previously worked drawings to assemble, rework, and glue onto panels. From there I build the work to have an object-like presence that challenges the typical two-dimensional format. The edges of each piece break free of the rectangle and the works push out from the wall into the viewer's actual three-dimensional space. 114
Kenneth A. Ragsdale Clearcut, 2015 uncollage, archival inkjet print on paper from photo of hand-built paper structure 13.75 x 20 inches courtesy of Front Room Gallery, NYC My work involves a mixture of drawing, painting, sculpture, paper-craft, theatre lighting, and photography. The work is based on personal memories and is constructed solely from them. These memories are chosen specifically for their metaphorical relationship with the growth of America as a nation. For Clearcut and similar images, I began by making rough sketches and then working drawings to solidify the dimensions of each item included in the scene. From these drawings I make schematics which are cut out, and then folded and tabbed into their final 3-dimensional formats. Whenever possible these are cut out in one piece from a single sheet of white Bristol vellum paper. All of the color in the images is produced by colored lights. I am trying to make visibly tangible the idea that every remembrance is a reinvention and reality is not fixed, but is in process. 116
Marcus Ratliff Odysseus, 2011 collage, cut paper, torn canvas, embossed seal collage on printed board 15 x 10 inches photo credit: David O'Neill With no end in mind, I began to put together a scrap of an amateur painting of an iconic house and a fragment of a constellation with the Major and Lesser Lions, set within a profile of a face. After that, I added stained wallpaper and an embossed silver seal on his hat to complete the mix. After cutting a facial profile from that night sky, I began to find my way to the completion. That profile seemed to demand a narrative about the composition. I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t resist titling the piece Odysseus. Home has always been on his mind, so I would think heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going back after a very long time. 118
Marcus Ratliff Giotto's Aviary, 2015 offset lithograph, metal cutouts and attachments, plaster, wire 16 x 22.75 x 4 inches photo credit: David O'Neil Time, like a bird on the wing, marches on. 120
Susan Reedy Urban Soliloquy 16, 2012 collage, acrylic, vintage ephemera, graphite pencil on canvas 46 x 24 inches photo credit:Â IMG_INK The Urban Soliloquy series is informed by exterior surfaces often seen in urban areas that are in a state of flux due to the passage of time, exposure to the elements, and neglect. I am particularly drawn to surfaces in which newly accumulated layers of paper are partially torn away to reveal fragments of what lies beneath the surface, alluding to remnants of the past and the present simultaneously. These exposed surfaces eventually transform into a visual depiction of timeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s passage; layers of text and imagery emerge and dissolve creating a palimpsest record of posters, tags, accidental mark making, and graffiti. My work is a response to the unconventional beauty of these transforming surfaces that evoke a sense of place, temporality, and memory. 122
Stephanie Roberts-Camello Family Tree, 2018 encaustic wrap over eco printing on silk on wood panel 14.75 x 15 x 4 inches photo credit: Paul Camello Leaves and plant matter steamed into silk, results in an imprint. In Family Tree I used black walnut leaves found on my homestead. This tree was planted by my father many years ago and has been nurtured along the way. I use personal history in my work, including old family letters that were written during the Great Depression, as well as eco printing that leaves a mark reminiscent of the past. The encaustic form I use is both to cover up the past and to peel back and reveal what once was. The wax, once cooled, holds evidence of struggle and scarring as well as endurance and grace. It shows a stratum of time much like the earth's core. Working with encaustic this way is risky. There is a chance of complete collapse and failure, but when done well the material's resilience has a life of its own that keeps me engaged and returning. 124
James Andrew Scott It Might Be a Place (Study), 2019 uncollage, layered digital rendering, acrylic, nitrocellulose, laser cut canvas 18 x 24 inches photo credit: Jesse Tyler Valgora And though the holes were rather small They had to count them all Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall I'd love to turn you on John Lennon / Paul McCartney, excerpt from A Day in the Life
Todd Bartel coined the term "uncollage" to describe the work outside of the discipline of cut and pasted paper but like minded in it's collapsing and conflation of imagery. I use two and three-dimensional models, both physical and digital, to fold and unfold drawings and sculptures. Here I am looking at the structure of an installation through its absence as it relates to the ceiling grid.
photo credit: Holly Harison
James Andrew Scott It Might Be a Place (for LLH), 2019 site-specific installation, painted acrylic 28 x 337 x 82 inches photo credit: Allison Scott I was presented with the opportunity to create an installation in the gallery using the grid on the second floor ceiling, a piece of the skylight and part of the renovation designed by Lois Lilley Howe in 1922. Howe transformed a then 170-year-old colonial house into a work of modernism, preserving the integrity and details on the ground floor and view of the house from the street, while transforming the second-floor into a clean, open gallery space filled with light. For me the steel grid and translucent panels function as a space in Flatland, A Romance of Many Dimensions, written by Edwin Abbott, first published in 1884, a two-dimensional plane inhabited by twodimensional beings. The pyramid forms pierce and stretch the plane like birds diving into and rising from a koi pond, creating a space within a space. The perforations offer views into the ceiling of the skylight on the northeast pitch of the roof and the remains of the original chimney. 128
Wendy Seller Pensive Girl, 2011 digital collage, gouache, archival pigment print 20 x 20 inches I am a collage artist working with mediums and methods that reflect our time while reminding us of the awesome qualities reminiscent of the past. My process is a fusion of hands-on gouache painting practices, blended with photographic or scanned image fragments, manipulated digitally. My narratives speak to women and timeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;juxtaposing past and present. My art practice discloses my structured personality and my need to understand the essential role that art must play in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s self-destructive world. The figures and settings that I invent are often embellished with attires and other implementations to bring joy to my narratives. My stories may begin with a well-structured framework or minimal subject matter, but are structurally or systematically followed by decades of skillful training and mindful teaching practices. My work deepened through experimentation, self-doubt, and in-depth study of a concept. I purposely disguise and openly release clues that lead these works into a liminal dream-like world. 130
Jill Stoll Woman Standing Alone, In A Field of Pink, 2018 collage, found photograph, paint chips, paper 23.5 x 18 inches I aim for a level of specificity in my work. I try to be as precise as possible in how I illustrate an idea. When a snapshot departs from conventional wisdom, that is when it becomes compelling. If I affirm the assumptions of the viewer, they do not become curious; the work does not offer an alternative to what they already know. It is the strength of the female figure standing alone in my new work that I strive to elevate as the catalyst in each constructed visual narrative. To celebrate their lasting spirit, captured by one decisive moment on film, in what we can only assume was a full life much like our own. Many artists use found photographs in their work but altering the original artifact remains crucial to my process. The photographs are cut with a pattern overlay using a laser cutter. The bits that fall away are collected and used as collage materials to be worked back into the piece to make the image whole again. 132
Joshua Stringer Mountain and Cloud Beyond the Grove of Trees, 2013 collage, paper, thread, watercolor, found photos 7 x 6.5 inches I am drawn to the medium of collage for the element of surprise inherent in the process. Placing materials, images, and gestures in new relationships and new contexts can, at times, evoke emotions and associations that could not have been planned or preconceived. This creates an opportunity for greater self-awareness and reflection. When the elements of a collage resonate with each other in a way that strikes an emotional chord within us, then we may be able to see more clearly the ways in which we assign meaning to the world around us. Our understanding of our world and our understanding of ourselves is then expanded slightly. In my work, humility and obscurity are essential qualities in the imagery I choose as I seek to create relationships that will compel one to quiet reflection. I am drawn to the mundane and ordinary as I try to find the poetic richness of each moment. 134
Nate Stromberg Payphone / Reach Out and Touch Someone, 2019 collage, vintage magazine cuttings, book cuttings 30 in x 17.5 inches Something strange and miraculous happens when disparate pieces of scrap paper are re-contextualized and joined together with glue. Close inspection reveals that these pieces still have their individual voices, but together they become something wholly new and altogether different. Collage truly is a medium that is greater than the sum of its parts. I am continually drawn to unique objects, particularly those that somehow jog the memory and engage the forgotten associations we perhaps had with them. Somehow we manage to create strong neural links with the colors and shapes of the designed objects we interact with. Some might classify this as nostalgia, but I see it as far less sentimental and much more elemental. We are perpetually surrounded by stuff. How do we engage in a world full of consumer goods, why do we gravitate towards particular objects over others, and how do these interactions change with and speak to the passing of time? When possible, I try to incorporate period papers and magazine fragments in my collages, operating under the assumption that a specific period color palettes, textures, and fragmented typeface will work to create an additional layer of familiarity with the object. The end result is an entirely new image that is much more than just a simple depiction of an object. 136
Peter Thomashow Biological Diversity (Color Study series), 2016 vintage watch makerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wood box c. 1920, glass vials, 19th-century marbleized paper (from Argosy Book Shop NYCâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the book shop Joseph Cornell frequented) 2.75 x 13.25 x 7.75 inches (15 inches open) photo credit: Geoff Hansen Given enough time, biological systems evolve toward ever increasing complexity. SpeciesÂ with awe inspiring colors, forms, sensory apparatus, reproductive mechanisms co-evolve and inter-connect giving rise to unimaginable marvels. This natural history box is a collection of nineteenth century end-papers where no two are the same and represents the wonder collections of butterflies, beetles, birds, flowers which delighted Charles Darwin, Alfred Russell Wallace and so many other natural historians as they were contemplating the great questions of the time: What are the origins of life? How is it that so many millions of species exist? Where do we come from? They pondered the inexplicable, slowly gathering and collating data, debating these great questions while sailing the seas and exploring the earth for so many years. Observation, contemplation, meditation and a willingness consider the vastness of time and space lead them to the theory of natural selection and gave faith to the awesome power and spirit of the natural world of which we are an integral part. 138
Peter Thomashow Reaching, 2014 collage, nineteenth-century prescription journals, anatomical charts, watercolor, natural history illustrations, kindergarten gift materials 17 X 11.25 inches photo credit: Geoff Hansen Art and science are identical modes of inquiry. Each is an appreciation of the unknown, the invisible, and the goal is to surrender to the universe that we barely comprehend. The concept of synergy is mindbending. One plus one equals three? How is it that increasingly complex organic molecules become life? How do networks of neurons give rise to consciousness? 1 + 1 = 3 is a reach. It is unpredictable and somewhat uncanny. This equation alludes to inspiration, awe, and mystery. Venture and explore inward or outwardâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;you will end up in the same place. Reaching is an homage to synergetic thought and paradox. 140
Michael Waraksa Good Afternoon, 2012 digital collage on archival photo paper 18.5 x 15 inches I see collage as a form of recycling. I am attempting to build something new and unexpected by layering and juxtaposing a variety of disparate elements together (1+1=3). I allow preconceived ideas to take impulsive detours as my final destination is mostly vague. Meaning and message are open ended and the viewer is encouraged to fill in the blanks. 142
unfoldingobject, n. 1. a work of art that resists instant legibility and reveals content and meaning through multiple viewings. 2. a work of art, often a collage, that is capable of being interpreted in various ways. 3. visual, emotional, associative, poetic, or conceptual transformation in a work of art.