Theme and Variation
This year, I decided to cut and paste red, green and blue papers into a collage for a holiday e-card. The image nearby is the first collage I created. Notice there are soft edged outlines in pink, yellow and light blue, created with oil pastel. This collage didn’t make the cut for the e-card. The design wasn’t as open as I wanted.
I made 3 color copies of the original collage. One by one, I cut and pasted each color copy and reassembled the pieces. One collage became 3 collages. I wanted the right combination of curvy, overlapping shapes and open spaces in between. I wanted the collage more vertical. See the 2nd collage image nearby.
Version 2 is more vertical. I added cut circles and half circles in contrasting colors – blue on green, red and green on blue – and glued the papers into the collage on top of the strips.
I still didn’t love the 2nd version of the collage because there wasn’t enough white space in the design.
I cut up another color copy of the original collage and glued the strips down. See the image below.
Notice version 3 of the collage nearby is unglued. Notice the strips of white paper. This time, before I glued the papers down, I took a photo because I wanted to remember where the paper strips were placed. You can see that the papers are not attached.
Here is version 4. I glued down the papers, but they moved – they always move in the process of lifting the papers to apply glue. The 3rd collage looks different from the unglued version.
I posted the collage image with a holiday greeting on Facebook and got a great response.People loved the colors and the design. I’m emailing the image as a holiday greeting to friends and family who may not be on Facebook.
I still have the first original collage and can make more color copies for more variations. Collage is unending. That’s ok.
I have a new project: theme and variation with cut and reassembled curvy paper collage. I want to do this on a larger scale. Paintings can become quilts.
I’m paying attention to colors, connections and interior spaces.
The inspiration for this project came from seeing an exhibition this summer at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams, MA. It’s a converted factory building complex and one of the largest centers for contemporary, visual art in the United States. It’s a favorite destination for me for a summer get-away.
I walked through all the first floor galleries this trip tot MASS MoCA, then walked through all the 3 levels of galleries showing works by the artist Sol Lewitt, then walked up a tall industrial stairway into a 2nd floor gallery and saw large paintings by Sarah Crowner. She’s a Brooklyn-based artist. Her exhibition also included ceramic tiles installed on platforms you walked on to get close to the paintings hung on the wall. I was inspired.
Sarah Crowner says she treats her paintings like a collage. I was smitten.
The image nearby is from the Mass MoCA website: Sarah Crowner – Beetle in the Leaves (summer 2016). Try to image the scale and the industrial background. The space is huge. Read more about the Mass MoCA exhibition here.
Sarah Crowner says this sewn painting is inspired by Sophie Taeuber Arp (Swiss, 1889-1943), a multi-media, applied arts, performance artist and textile designer also associated with the Dada art movement. Read about her here.
The Mass MoCA website says: Sarah Crowner mines the legacy of abstraction and treats art history itself as a medium to be manipulated—sampling, collaging, and rearranging existing images to create new forms. Her practice—which includes ceramics, tile floors, sculptures, and theater curtains—centers around sewn paintings she stitches together with visible stitching functioning as both line and surface. Her works are large.
I found an interview with Sarah Crowner (ArtForum, 9/05/11) where she said she’s always using art history as a medium, cutting it up and trying to reengage it.
Click the link and read the interview here. The image nearby is from the online ArtForum interview and shows a view of Sarah Crowner’s studio and new work.
Your comments – please
Are you inspired to reassemble your art? Do you make the trip to MASS MoCA? Would you cut up a painting and make it into a collage?
Happy Holidays – Merry Christmas – Happy New Year.
Artist, collagist with painted papers, author, and blogger
Email to visit my studio: firstname.lastname@example.org