Collage at the New York Studio School June 10-July 14, 2019

I visited the New York Studio School exhibition ATTACHED: Meghan Brady, Sarah Faux, Melissa Meyer and Anne Ryan (June 10-July 14, 2019). The exhibition included three small collages by Anne Ryan (1889-1954) a pioneer in collage and early generation NY Abstract Expressionist. The exhibition also included 13 larger works by 3 contemporary artists: Meghan Brady, Sarah Faux and Melissa Meyer, who are painters and also work in collage. Meghan Brady’s works are wall-sized paper pieces with painted and cutout shapes.  Sarah Faux’s works are collaged canvas. Melissa Meyer’s works are watercolor assemblage.

The exhibition was co-curated by Rachel Rickert and Graham Nickson. The images below show works by each artist in the show. See all the works online here.

 

Meghan Brady, Future Figure I

The image above is by Meghan Brady, titled Future Figure 1 (2018). It’s collage on paper, acrylic, and backed with Tyvek, 110 x 91 inches, image: courtesy Mrs. Gallery. This is one of two wall-sized works by Meghan Brady in the exhibition. Brady’s works are made with paper pieces that include wide sweeping strokes of paint, and large painted and cutout shapes. The curators wrote: Brady’s works …embody the bold and deliberate nature of cut and paste collage…her collages are all-consuming like a tapestry, but one that has been shattered and re-formed.

 

Melissa Meyer, Rearrangement Series #6

The image above is by Melissa Meyer, titled Rearrangement Series #6 (2018), collaged watercolors on paper, 15 ¾ x 12 inches. Collage is about juxtaposition and in this work, Meyer created a collage that juxtaposed hard, cut edges against soft, transparent, painterly brush strokes. Lennon Weinberg Inc. represents Melissa Meyer and the gallery is located at 514 W 25 Street, NYC.

 

Melissa Meyer, Rearrangement Series #8

The image above is by Melissa Meyer, titled Rearrangement Series #8 (2019), collaged watercolors on paper, 17 ½ x 32 inches.

 

Melissa Meyer and her MacDowell sketchbook

I took the image above at the opening reception. It shows Melissa Meyer standing in front of her work titled MacDowell Sketchbook (2012), collaged watercolors on paper, 6 x 36 inches. This is one of 7 works by Meyer in the exhibition. See other works included in the exhibition here.

I wrote about Melissa Meyer in a post (January 7, 2019) titled Melissa Meyer: Drawing with Paint – Painting Collage. Meyer makes a connection between her approach to painting and the collage process of cutting, pasting, and arranging elements, and says she isolates elements while building the whole painting…and wants viewers to experience each part of a painting as dynamically as they experience its entirety. The post is about her approach to painting and collage.

 

Sarah Faux, Let it go higher

The image above is by Sarah Faux and titled Let it go higher (2019), pigment, acrylic, dye and oil on cut canvas, 65 x 61 inches, image: Capsule Shanghai. Read more about the artist at the Capsule Shanghai website.

 

Sarah Faux, Piriformis

The image above is by Sarah Faux and titled Piriformis (2019).  It’s acrylic and oil on cut canvas, 72×49 inches. Her gallery, Capsule Shanghai, writes: Sarah Faux merges the seemingly disparate strands of figurative representation and gestural abstraction…with flattened fields of color. Faux lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

 

Anne Ryan, Untitled #549

The image above is by Anne Ryan (1889-1954), Untitled #549, collage with papers and found scraps of fabric, 17 ¾ x 39 ¾ inches dated 1948-54.  The color palette is mostly monochromatic. This is a relatively large work by Anne Ryan. Most of her works are tiny.

 

Anne Ryan, Untitled #562

The image above shows one of two tiny collages by Anne Ryan in the exhibition. It’s Untitled #562 (1948-54), collage, 7  1/16 x 6 ¾ inches, courtesy of Washburn Gallery, NY. In this work, Ryan’s collage papers are soft, with torn edges. She works with fragments of different materials clustered and layered within her composition.

I wrote about Anne Ryan when I first saw her collages at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) exhibition titled Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction (April 19-August 12, 2017). Read it here. Anne Ryan was born in Hoboken, New Jersey and was a self-taught writer, painter and printmaker who began to work in collage (at the age of 58) when she saw an exhibition of works by the German artist Kurt Schwitters.  From 1948 to 1954 she created about 400 tiny collages. Many of her collages are in permanent collections at major museums in the U.S. but we don’t often see then in the museum galleries. Many of Ryan’s collages include string, netting, handmade papers and woven fabric that are often frayed at the edges. Her choice of materials was always meticulous, and she often included exquisite hand made papers.

 

AT THE OPENING RECEPTION

 

Opening reception: Meghan Brady, Future Figure II

I took the image above at the opening reception. People (and a dog) are standing in front of Meghan Brady’s wall-size work titled Future Figure II, collage on paper, acrylic, and backed with Tyvek, 100 x 106 inches. Notice how large the work is in comparison to the people standing nearby. This is the 2ndwork by Meghan Brady in the exhibition.

The day after the opening reception, I contacted Rachel Rickert, who co-curated the exhibition for Attached with Graham Nickson. I asked her several questions. She was very gracious and shared her comments that follow.

INTERVIEW with Rachel Rickert

Q: How did you determine these 4 artists were the right artists for ATTACHED?

RR: The exhibition was inspired by a proposal from Melissa Meyer and Sarah Faux who are included in the show, suggesting a large group exhibition about Collage in the 21st Century. Graham Nickson and I decided to focus on a smaller group of artists that would include Melissa Meyer, Sarah Faux and Meghan Brady. I saw Brady’s large scale collage works at Tiger Strikes Asteroid in Brooklyn in 2018 and felt her works would be a good addition because they demonstrate the range of the medium of collage – and would add elements of bold gestural abstraction with irregularly shaped pieces and bodily references. Graham Nickson suggested adding Anne Ryan as the 4th artist because she would frame the contemporary works with an important historical precedent. Anne Ryan discovered collage in the later years of her life, and dedicated herself to this new found medium between 1948 and 1954.

Rickert added: “Each artist has or had an active painting practice in tandem with or that led them into collage. We wanted to showcase the collage side of their practice, and how the medium has led the artists to discover new, and courageous elements in their work.

 

Q: What arrangements did the NYSS gallery have to make for loan of art works?

RR: The New York Studio School worked with each artist to loan the works directly from them or from their gallery. We owe a big thanks to Mrs. Gallery for working with us on Megan Brady’s work, Capsule Shanghai for Sarah Faux’s, and Washburn Gallery for loaning us the Anne Ryan pieces.

 

Q: How engaged were the artists in details for the exhibition? Did they help determine which works would be included?

RR: Choosing artwork for the exhibition was a collaborative process between myself and Graham Nickson, and the artists. We asked the artists/galleries to submit available works that they felt would be good candidates for the exhibition, and Graham and I discussed what work would allow each artist to shine, while combining to create an interesting whole presentation.

 

Q: Why did you select the title Attached:

RR: Attached speaks to the physical process of collage, the parts that were stuck together to create new wholes. We wanted a title that encompasses the making and the commitment of collage final decisions—when things are attached in place.

 

Q: How are the artists connected to the NYSS?

RR: Melissa Meyer is a friend of the school and has taught a Drawing Marathon and lectured in our Evening Lecture series. We presented her works in the exhibition Melissa Meyer: in Black and White, December 14, 2007 – February 3, 2008. Sarah Faux was a student of Melissa Meyer’s, and Meyer introduced her to the School. Meghan Brady was not previously connected to the School, but her experimental studio-centric, concept through making process is very much in line with the School’s philosophy.  The School admired Anne Ryan’s overall body of work for its intensity and beauty. Ryan did not previously have a connection with the NYSS. We were excited to share the work of these dynamic artists with our community.

 

Rachel Rickert is the Exhibitions and Alumni Coordinator at the New York Studio School.

Finally – It was a terrific exhibition and I was so pleased to see it and meet Melissa Meyer.

 

 

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Melissa Meyer

January 7, 2019

Drawing with Paint – Painting Collage

 

melissa meyer 640 summer in the city i hyperallergic

Melissa Meyer, Summer in the City

 

Melissa Meyer is called a lyrical abstractionist. She paints free-floating, painterly ribbons of vibrant colors and shapes with oil paint thinned to the transparency of watercolor. She draws with paint.

I visited the exhibition Melissa Meyer: New Paintings (November 1-December 22, 2018) at Lennon, Weinberg Inc., 514 West 25 Street, N.Y. the week before it closed. The exhibition included large paintings, several smaller diptychs and one collage. This is Meyer’s fifth solo exhibition at Lennon, Weinberg, Inc. The paintings are bold and vibrant.

The image above, titled Summer in the City I, is oil on canvas (2018), 80 x 60 inches (image courtesy Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.).  It’s a grid with calligraphic glyphs drawn with a paintbrush with thinned oil paint in different colors. Notice there are patches of palest, almost transparent pink and yellow below the painted glyphs.

 

melissa meyer 500 draw the line

Melissa Meyer, Draw the Line

The image above is titled Draw the Line (2015) oil on canvas, 72×96 inches (image courtesy Lennon, Weinstein, Inc.). Here, the background is a patchwork of warm and cool whites with a second layer of warm and cool blacks painted in a calligraphic design.

John Yau, who wrote a review for Hyperallergic, is a big fan, and has reviewed many of Meyer’s solo exhibitions at Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.  He said: “When Meyer started using oil paint that was closer in consistency to watercolor, she broke through into a territory that is now all her own.” See his review (November 25, 2018) at hyperallergic.com.

 

DIPTYCHS

 

melissa meyer 640 trellis too at hyperallergic

Melissa Meyer, Trellis Too

 

The image above is titled Trellis Too (2017), oil on canvas, 36×72 inches, diptych (image courtesy Lennon Weinberg, Inc.).

In his exhibition review (November 25, 2018), Yau said he counted at least three layers of marks compressed together in Trellis Too, saying the first layer is a patchwork of palest colors (durian yellow, cantaloupe orange and watery blue), the second layer includes glyph-like brushstrokes in different colors where the brush can be dry or full, the color can be saturated or faded, and one glyph often slides over another. The third layer is a drawing in black with a geometric web of tangled lines that hold the first two layers together. In his review, Yau writes he likes the way the painting asked him to pay attention to how the glyphs drift across the surface, as well as within the layers, how the paintings merge division and unity without favoring either because you notice similarities, changes and ruptures.

 

melissa meyer 640 rearrangement series 2 (2018) posit journal

Melissa Meyer, Rearrangement Series 2

 

I was lucky to have a conversation with Jill Weinberg Adams, the gallery director, and told her I am writing about women who do collage. She told me Meyer has a long-standing interest in collage and a unique collage esthetic. I was intrigued.

I saw two collages at the gallery – one was installed in the exhibition, and one was brought out from a closet. The first image (above) is titled Rearrangement Series 2 (2018), watercolor collage on paper, 15.75 x 12 inches (image courtesy of Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.) The second image (below) is titled Rearrangement Series 3 (2018), watercolor collage on paper (2018), 15.75 x 12 inches (image courtesy of Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.).

 

melissa meyer 640 rearrangement series 3

Melissa Meyer, Rearrangement Series 3

 

Meyer makes a connection between her approach to painting and the collage process of cutting, pasting, and arranging elements, and says she isolates elements while building the whole painting, and wants viewers to experience each part of a painting as dynamically as they experience its entirety.

SKETCHBOOKS

 

melissa meyer 640 3 sketchbooks

Melissa Meyer, 3 Sketchbooks

The image above shows 3 sketchbooks with wide format, open double-page spreads on which Meyer added watercolors and transfer prints. I learned Meyer is often at residencies and, while there, creates “Residency Sketchbooks.”  The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York reproduced one of Meyer’s sketchbooks.

At positjoiurnal.com I read Melisssa Meyer is very aware of the importance of collage in forming contemporary aesthetics, saying “As a method, collage encourages layering, shape-making and juxtaposition, all of which I apply to my work, from my paintings to multi-panel public works using expanded media (Photoshop).

View a carousel of more watercolor collages in the Rearrangement Series at positjournal.com.

 

melissa meyer 640 magazine collage

Melissa Meyer, magazine collage

 

I found the image above online. It’s dated 2016 and was included in a group exhibition in Spain.  Notice the cut paper collage on top where the paper shapes mimic the shapes of the calligraphic line.

FEMMAGE

 

melissa meyer 640 miriam schapiro

Miriam Schapiro, Miriam’s Life with Dolls

 

Picasso and Braque did not invent collage. Many women made collage before the men did – but the men got the credit.

In her mid-twenties, Meyer and fellow artist Miriam Schapiro co-authored an influential essay that linked the history of collage to traditional female hobbies like quilting and scrapbooking. They titled their essay “Waste Not Want Not: An Inquiry into What Women Saved and Assembled-FEMMAGE.” The essay was published in the magazine Heresies: Women’s Traditional Arts: The Politics of Aesthetics (Winter 1978).

Meyer said she was always interested in scrapbooks made primarily by women in the 18th century. She discovered a collage sensibility in quilts. She valued the works of mid -20thcentury abstractionists, including Lee Krasner, who reused paintings and works on paper and recycled them into her large collages on canvas.

See a facsimile of Femmage from the original Heresies publication at artcritical.com.

The image above is a collage by Miriam Schapiro, titled Miriam’s Life With Dolls (2006), fabric and collage on paper, 30×60 inches (image courtesy Flomenhaft Gallery, 547 W 27 Street, NY, NY). Schapiro (1923-2015) was a Canadian-born artist based in the U.S, an activist and pioneer of feminist art. Schapiro worked to resurrect the reputations of women artists who had been forgotten or dismissed by art historians. She was a painter, sculptor, printmaker, and a leader of the Pattern and Decoration art movement. Read more at the artstory.org.

 

Melissa Meyer, the Green Woman

The image above is titled The Green Woman, 1973, acrylic on paper with collage, 34 x 25 1/2 inches, published in Ms. Magazine (1973) and now in the permanent collection at the International Collage Center.

LARGE MURALS

Meyer received a commission to create two large murals for the Shiodome City Center in Tokyo, Japan (completed in 2003). One mural was forty feet high; the other was sixty feet long. She worked with computer technicians with Photoshop to create the macquettes for the murals, directing how image files were scanned, how glyph images were layered, how colors were made saturated or muted, and how her  painted calligraphic lines were made more or less transparent.

Meyer admitted the scale of the murals posed a unique challenge. She knew she  would have to radically enlarge the scale of her brushstrokes as she painted, and make each calligraphic shape more independent. She said the most basic challenge was to make the images work for viewers from all different vantage points. The commission got Meyer thinking about how her brushstrokes would move across the surface in the super-sized murals.

She said working with Photoshop renewed her engagement with collage and profoundly affected her sense of space and her attraction to the esthetic idea of radical discontinuity.

 

THE CHOREOGRAPHY OF BRUSHWORK

 

Melissa Meyer studio view

Melissa Meyer, studio view

 

The image above shows a view into Meyer’s studio with her paints, brushes and books. Meyer says “ when I’m painting, I work intuitively, physically, thinking about brushwork as a kind of choreography, a dance that happens in the wrists and arms as well as the whole body.

Meyer has exhibited in over forty solo shows, and has been included in group shows at the National Academy Museum and the Jewish Museum in New York.  In 1997, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY published a facsimile edition of her sketchbooks.

Meyer was awarded a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pollock Krasner Foundation.  Meyer’s work is included in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Jewish Museum and many other public and private collections across the United States.

Meyer has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the Art Institute of Chicago, and the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has completed public commissions in New York, Tokyo, and Shanghai, and currently has an eight by fourteen-foot ceramic mural in fabrication for the new U.S. embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgystan.

I am so pleased to write this post about an artist who has a collage esthetic and welcome your comments.