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




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.



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 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


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.



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

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


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.


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.




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.









About Donna Dodson

April 8, 2014

I visited the Fountain Art Fair opening day (3/7/14). It’s one of many mega-shows during NY Armory Week in March each year.

Fountain Art Fair was founded in 2006 and is also the site of the original historic Armory show (1913), at the downtown 69th Regiment Armory, Lexington Avenue and 26th Street, NYC.


In my opinion, one of the best, and most interesting art installations at Fountain was the two-person booth with wood sculpture by Donna Dodson and Stephan Fowlkes. This is the 3rd year the artists showed together at Fountain.


booth installation at Fountain Art Fair 2014

booth installation at Fountain Art Fair 2014

The image above is my photo (a partial view) of their booth this year. Dodson’s works are the sculpture on pedestals. Fowlkes’ works are the large geometric wood crosses on the wall behind Dodson’s sculpture on pedestals. I thought their installation was one of the best because it showed two complimentary approaches to wood and mixed media.  Concept and craft were exquisite – combining art works that are both timeless and contemporary.


I stopped and talked to Donna about her work. Dodson carves wood sculpture and casts small sculpture (variations) in bronze, glass and as 3D computer prints.


Fowlkes works with reclaimed lath, plywood and mixed media.


See more work by Donna Dodson here. See more work by Stephan Fowlkes here. See more information about Fountain Art Fair here. Read the review SelavySays: Donna Dodson here.


Donna Dodson at Cusco, Peru residency

Donna Dodson at Cusco, Peru residency

The image above is Donna Dodson at a recent residency in Cusco, Peru. The sculpture you see is still a work in progress. Read about the residency here.

Dodson, Asian Elephant, wood, paint (2007)

Dodson, Asian Elephant, wood, paint (2007)

The image above is titled Asian Elephant, 32” tall, wood, paint (2007). See it facing left in the first photo above showing Dodson’s sculpture on pedestals. Notice the beautiful grain in the wood and the curve of her shoulders and soft breasts. Notice this female elephant has no tusks. And see her painted black gloves and golden blond hair that crowns her head. How lovely.

Dodson, Pregnant Kangaroo, wood, paint (2006)

Dodson, Pregnant Kangaroo, wood, paint (2006)

The image above is titled Pregnant Kangaroo, 29” tall, wood, paint (2006). See it facing right in the first photo of sculpture on pedestals. Notice the wood grain shows through the blue-grey paint of her jumper dress. She is in sandals and looks ready to “pop.”

Dodson, Pregnant Kangaroo, 3D Computer Print (2010)

Dodson, Pregnant Kangaroo, 3D Computer Print (2010)

The image above is a small version of Pregnant Kangaroo, a 3D computer print on a marble pedestal, 6” tall, edition of 10 (2010).


Dodson's Small sculpture on Pedestals at Fountain 2014

Dodson’s Small sculpture on Pedestals at Fountain 2014

The image above is my photo of Dodson’s small bronze, glass and 3D computer printed sculptures on pedestals seen at Fountain this year. Notice the works on paper hanging on the wall above the small sculptures. Dodson explores her imagery in many different media, including drawing and printmaking.


I told Dodson the two small white sculptures appeal to me, and remind me of ancient marble Cycladic art that I’ve seen at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.  I love the scale Dodson has created for these works. The size is so appealing. The image is so Classic. I especially love the pink glass sculpture seen on the right side. Dodson says her sculpture is inspired by African art and Native American totems.


I asked her to tell me how she works with wood. She said she learned the ancient art of wood carving by apprenticing with a master carver and has worked with wood since 1996. She currently has two series of carved wood sculpture titled Elephant Parade and Flock Together.


Elephant Parade includes 16 different interpretations of an elephant- headed female form. Dodson says the elephant represents power, sensitivity, strength and wisdom, and these elephants are feminine archetypes – goddess figures. The Hindu elephant god Ganesh inspires her work. Ganesh is a male deity. All of Dodson’s carved sculptures are female.

Dodson, Elephant Princess, wood,, pigment, paint (2008)

Dodson, Elephant Princess, wood,, pigment, paint (2008)

The image above is titled Elephant Princess, 20” tall, wood, pigment, paint (2008). Notice the tusks are painted a delicate red.

I asked Dodson to tell me about the wood she uses and where she gets it. She works with hardwoods and uses logs of osage orange from her grandfather’s farm in Illinois.


She says her friends usually bring her wood that has been cut down, or fallen in storms, and people contact her who are tearing down old houses, and ask if she can use or recycle old wood. Most of her figures are carved from a single piece of wood. She liberates the figure from the log and often adds color to carved sections to indicate eyes, gloves, tusks, beaks, or other anatomical elements.


She sculpts with a chainsaw, works with a belt sander, and uses chisels, rasps and files. Sculpture gets a smooth surface with sandpaper and is sometimes embellished with paint or pigment and then finished in varnish and wax.


The large sculptures range from one to four feet tall and one to two feet in diameter.


I asked Dodson about the small works on pedestals.


She said the small 3D prints, bronzes and glass castings seen on the pedestals at the Fair were made from image files of the Elephant Princess, Asian Elephant, Pregnant Kangaroo, and another Striding Rhino piece, that is sold.

Dodson, Elephant Princess, 3D Computer Print (2010)

Dodson, Elephant Princess, 3D Computer Print (2010)

The small white sculpture above is titled Elephant Princess. It’s a 3D computer print on marble base. Limited edition of 10. 6” tall (2010).

Dodson explained her 3D printing and casting process: She brings the large wood sculptures to a lab that scans each piece to create a 3D digital image file. The lab manipulates the file and creates a 3D print that becomes her 6″ white miniature sculpture.


For her cast bronze and glass pieces, Dodson makes a two-part rubber mold from the 3D prints, pours in waxes, and casts small sculpture from them.


She said she was excited to work with bronze and stone, and 3D computer prints. It gave her the opportunity to work in small scale and create variations in other media. My favorite of all the small works is the pink glass sculpture- and the way it plays with light.


2 More Elephants on Parade


Dodson, Elephant Matador, wood, pigment, paint (2008)

Dodson, Elephant Matador, wood, pigment, paint (2008)


The image above is titled Elephant Matador, 21” tall, wood, pigment, paint (2008). Notice she has white tusks and is wearing red gloves. This slim, solemn carved wood sculpture stands on a black base.

Dodson, Elephant Clown, wood, pigment, paint (2009)

Dodson, Elephant Clown, wood, pigment, paint (2009)

The image above is titled Elephant Clown, 26” tall, wood, pigment, paint (2009). Notice the swirling wood grain in her curled, carved headdress.


Dodson, Baby Bringer, styrofoam, cement, paint (2011)

Dodson, Baby Bringer, styrofoam, cement, paint (2011)

Supersize Outdoor Sculpture

The image above is a large outdoor sculpture titled Baby Bringer (12’ tall) that is sited in Switzerland. Completed in 2011, it’s Dodson’s largest sculpture to date and is constructed with Styrofoam, cement and paint. Dodson created Baby Bringer at the Verbier 3D Foundation’s Artist Residency and Sculpture Park in the Swiss Alps. Read more about her residency here.


Dodson currently has work in a group show called Visions/Visiones curated by Nora Valdez with members of the Boston Sculptors Gallery and notable Peruvian Artists at the Museo Convento Santo Domingo Qorikancha in Cusco Peru.

On April 30, 2014 Dodson will have her work at the ISC (International Sculpture Center) sale during the ISC Gala in NYC. The ceremony will present Judy Pfaff and Ursula Von Rydingsvaard with lifetime achievement awards. Read more here.


Dodson has work in two current shows in MA: A Celebration of Woodcarving from Students of Joseph Wheelwright 1980 – 2014, at ARC in Peabody, and in the windows of Boston Sculptors Gallery.

Her work will be included in the 10th Biennial Sculpture Invitational at Krasi Art Center in MI. Read more here.

May 3, Dodson will debut at the Rice Polak Gallery, Provincetown, MA, in a group show of all gallery artists.  Read more here.

Her solo show, Silent Scream, at the Boston Sculptors Gallery is scheduled for May/June 2014. Read more here.

In June she will participate in a three person show at the Essex Art Center in Lawrence MA.

In July, she has a solo show at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland VT.


Read comments Dodson writes each month about upcoming exhibitions and see more of her work here.


It was my pleasure to meet Donna Dodson and Stephan Fowlkes at the Fountain Art Fair 2014. I thank Donna for sharing comments about her work and her media and for sharing the image files seen here. I look forward to reading her blog and seeing more of her work again in person. She has an incredible exhibition itinerary coming up. If you are in MA, VT or MI, try to see her work in person.





November 17, 2011

I recently wrote about children making art.

It’s exciting to watch. They know instinctively what materials to use and how to express their ideas in a fresh way.

I think it’s important for kids to learn about collage by great artists like Romare Bearden, Henri Matisse, Jean Dubuffet and others.

The image below shows collage in progress by two 2nd grade students at the Williams Elementary School. Notice the line drawing by Romare Bearden sitting on top of papers near the green scissor.

Students do collage

The image below is Bearden’s collage titled The Block. Image: the Internet. Made in 17 fiberboard and plywood panels. Media includes various papers with foil, paint,ink, and graphite. You can see The Block at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC (August 30, 2011 – January 8, 2012).

The Block, Romare Bearden


Do you suppose children’s art is good enough to show in a contemporary art gallery? I think so. It can be bold, inventive, and charming.

My last post was about a collage exhibition with works by children in the 8th grade. I talked a lot about how the works were framed and installed in the gallery.

I didn’t mean to imply that framing and gallery installation was responsible for how good the art works looked.  Good framing always helps, but the young students made good art. Read about the exhibition…

Picasso said all children are artists and the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.

Do you think it’s true that young children are freer at making art than adults?

I remember a talented 10-year-old girl in a collage class I taught last summer.  She was so confident and competent.

She selected and cut all the collage papers she planned to use before she placed or glued any papers down. She didn’t plan her collage in advance. She built her collage as she glued. The process was seamless, direct and accomplished.

She was also the only child in the class.

I did an experiment last Sunday. I asked 3 of my grandchildren to make a collage based on The Block by Romare Bearden. Alexander is in 4th grade. Sofia is in 2nd grade. Aaron is in Kindergarten.  I showed them 3 drawings and a color print of The Block by Romare Bearden.

The image above is a poster for the exhibition Romare Bearden 1911-1988: A Centennial Celebration (August 30, 2011 – January 8, 2012).  Image: the Internet

Do you see that Bearden included an interior view of people, including a person sitting in the stairwell?


I brought along pre-cut papers and larger 9×12 inch paper in several different colors. I brought white Bristol paper for a substrate (the base of the collage). I brought black fine-point markers, glue in squeeze bottles, and plastic squeegees to press down collage papers. They had their own assorted color markers.

We talked about the buildings in their neighborhood. I said it was important to include lots of windows and show detail in the windows. I said remember to include doors, entry steps, architectural details within and above windows, and a view of people or pets in the windows (I showed them how Bearden included people). I suggested they embellish the rooftops with details.

The fine-point marker pens were the most interesting to them, so the collages all started as drawings. Each grandchild wanted to cut their own building blocks from the larger sheets, and cut windows from the medium size papers.

They image below is by Sofia.

Collage and drawing by Sofia

Sofia loved the pen with the brush tip and began to draw immediately on the right lower portion of her paper. The collage was glued in and around the drawing, and when the blocks were too wide for the paper, she slipped one behind the other. She used a light blue marker to color in the sky.

The image below is by Alexander.

Drawing and collage by Alexander

Alexander worked with the fine-line marker and drew details. He added a tall sculpture on a rooftop, added drawings of people inside and wrote numbers and words next to and within the buildings. He was very interested in how buildings have different window configurations. We talked about how older buildings may have high ceilings so windows are taller.

The image below is by Aaron.

Collage by Aaron

Aaron built his collage by first layering papers (windows) on building blocks. His buildings were constructed one by one. He cut the building blocks from large pieces of paper so the edges are not perfect rectangles. He cut thin, long triangular papers to fix the edges where they were irregular. He drew an elevator shaft in the blue building and added a collaged traffic light.

Each grandchild’s collage looks different and reflects their unique interests and focus.

Have you observed the way children make art? How do you think the work varies by age?

In December 2011, I will teach young students again at the Williams Elementary School and will watch and observe how they work and the ways they build their collages. I also want to see if and how they watch each other as they work.

Read more about the exhibition Romare Bearden 1911-1988: A Centennial Celebration (August 30, 2011 – January 8, 2012).

Bearden worked in collage – it dominated his studio practice the last 25 years of his life. His collages included magazine clippings, fabric, old photographs and colored papers.

Read about other centennial events in honor of Romare Bearden…

Also at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Don’t Miss The 9/11 Peace Story Quilt designed and constructed by Faith Ringgold in collaboration with NYC students ages 8-18 (through January 22, 2012). Another great exhibition with children!

I hope you get a chance to see the many shows that honor Romare Bearden on the centennial of his birth.

Please add your comments below about childrens’ art and collage by Romare Bearden. Thank you.


November 10, 2011

What a surprise! Children’s art on view in a pristine Chelsea gallery space.

I visited the DC Moore Gallery on West 22nd Street in NYC last month and saw an exhibition with collage done by children. The main gallery had wonderful paintings by Eric Aho. The adjacent gallery had an installation with 31 collages by students at the Calhoun School in NYC, titled 9/11: Through Young Eyes (September 8 – October 8, 2011).

The works were done 10 years ago. The students were 8th graders. Read more.

9/11 Through Young Eyes

My first reaction was – isn’t this interesting to see collage by young students in a Chelsea gallery. My next reaction was that the student’s works looked really good.

I wanted to get up close and see the way the collages were made, the materials that were used, and understand why the work looked so good.

When I walked around and looked at the individual works, I noticed they were made with pieces of cut construction papers pasted on top of another piece of colored construction paper. This is the stuff that children use for art projects in elementary school.  The paper is not that special. But the works looked almost professional.

I analyzed what made the works seem so special. The answer: every work, no matter what background color of construction paper was used, was “floated” on the same warm white paper – a high quality background paper – and framed in a matching white wood frame.

All the frames were the same size, and each one was hung with just the right amount of space between. Every framed work had room to breath. Each work got the gallery treatment.

Seeing the exhibition made me think how art can be enhanced by optimum presentation and installation.

I also thought about art made by even younger children I ‘ve taught at an after-school program at the Williams Elementary School in Mt. Vernon, NY, organized through the Pelham Art Center, Pelham, NY.  I will teach collage again at the Williams School in December 2011.

The images below are collages done by 2nd graders, inspired by Romare Bearden (African-American 1911-1988).

I showed them a small print reproduction of a Bearden work titled “The Block.” It’s 48 x 216 inches, six panels, cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, pencil, ink, gouache, watercolor pen and ink on Masonite. The image below is a section.

Romare Bearden

I also brought reproductions of Bearden’s much simpler line drawings to inspire the students at the Williams School.

I think it’s important for kids to learn about collage by great artists like Romare Bearden, Henri Matisse, Jean Dubuffet and others.

The image nearby is a drawing by Romare Bearden. Image: the Internet.

Romare Bearden

The after-school program at the Williams School is self-selected. That means the kids decide what activity they want to join. My activity is making art with paper collage. The school has a very good art program and the children know how to work with scissors, paper and glue.

I bring drawing paper for the substrate (bottom collage paper) and assorted papers. I bring scissors, glue and crayons and encourage the students to embellish the papers with drawings, patterns and more color.

At the beginning of the class I show a reproduction in color of Bearden’s collage and drawings and say Bearden was a famous artist with works in important museums. I ask them to raise their hands if they know what a collage is. All hands go up.

I ask them to look at the windows in the classroom and see how the spaces are divided. I ask them to notice how the windows in the 3 different Bearden line drawings each have different windows, and to notice that some windows have people looking out.

Making art is about learning to see.

A student is placing his papers

I ask the students to make a collage like the Bearden drawings and have more than one house on a street.

The Bearden reproductions include people and cats in the window. The children drew puppies, kittens, birds, trees, flowers, boys and girls.

Student working on a collage

Because time is short and the students have different skill levels, I prepare a lot of the collage papers in advance and pre-cut papers into 3 sizes of squares and rectangle in brown, yellow, black and teal blue papers. Each student gets a small squeeze bottle of white glue and a pair of children’s scissors.

I leave some papers uncut, and encourage the students who want to be independent and inventive to cut squares into rectangles for doors, steps, chimneys and long windows, and cut squares into triangles for rooftops.

student collage

I always do a tutorial on how to carefully squeeze glue from the small bottles. I say do “dot dot dot” and don’t squeeze too hard. I am there to help clean up the glue puddles if they squeeze the bottle too hard.

I am amazed at the energy in the works. Even if they don’t cut squares into smaller pieces, or cut parallel edges, each work is fun and joyful, based on the ways the papers are placed and the drawings they add.  Everyone is able to finish his or her work.

The images show student works in progress and works held up for admiration. I didn’t show all the children’s faces to protect their privacy.

Student and his collage

Read more about the exhibition “9/11: Through Young Eyes” (September 8 – October 8, 2011) at the DC MOORE Gallery,

The thirteen-year-old students in the exhibition “9/11” made their art after a visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art to see an exhibition of works by Jacob Lawrence, including his “Migration Series” (1940-41). The Migration Series is about movement of African-Americans from the agricultural South to the industrial North following World War I.

Thank you for your comments about children making art with collage.


This post is an interview (long and in-depth) with a very talented young artist having a solo exhibition at Media Loft Gallery in New Rochelle, NY. The show is titled EXCITABLE BOY (March 13-May 7, 2011) and includes 31 works: large format photographs, large mixed media photocollage paintings, photos of family and friends, paintings on canvas, collage and sculpture.

The opening reception is Sunday, March 13th from 2-6 pm. The closing reception is Saturday, May 7th from 4-6 pm. If you cannot attend the opening or closing receptions, gallery hours are by appointment. Visit Media Loft online for directions and to contact Adam Handler by email for for an appointment to see the exhibition at another time.

The image below is an installation view of the front gallery with 2 large photos and a sculpture by Adam Handler (photo © Christopher Lovi).

Adam Handler Installation in the Front Gallery at Media Loft

Adam Handler’s website includes the following Artist Statements:

I strive for originality, but will never forget the influences

that played a part in creating these paintings.

I hope to entice various generations with the subject matter while

exposing it in a way that has never been done before.


I interviewed Adam for this post and think his comments are as compelling and original as his work in the exhibition.The show is worth the trip to see in person.


Adam Handler wrote:

Mid-twentieth century America, Vietnam, the British Invasion, Andy Warhol’s simplistic commercial Campbell’s soup cans have long enticed me. To me, this era always depicted character and artistic freedom, liberation from “the man.”

Though I was born in the 1980’s, I have often speculated how the feelings and emotions that conflicted the youth then continue to remain relevant today.

That era in particular spurred my interests to create paintings that captured the rebellious energy of the time, while transforming the imagery into contemporary works that relate to my generation. Contemporary politics and economics, social interactions, views on love, life, and death are all compressed into my mixed media works. In many of the pieces you will notice small sayings or sexual innuendos – mostly taken from advertisements – inspired by the Dada poets at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. For me, using written words alongside commercial imagery and contrasting it with rapid brushstrokes and intense color create a modern scene that allows for the viewer to create their own personal interpretive narrative. © 2011, Adam Handler


The artist statement (above), websiteSaatchi onlinePS 1 Studio Visit, and the slideshow at ArtSlant helped me develop the outline for the interview that follows.


Robert Motherwell Elegy to the Spanish Republic, 70 (1961)

Q: You say you are inspired by the artists Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, and say Robert Rauschenberg is an artistic hero to you.

In what ways do you think Robert Motherwell (American 1915-1991) inspires your work?

AH: Motherwell truly inspired me when I saw my first Spanish Elegy painting; I believe it was at the MET. What inspired me about this work was something much more subtle. The way Motherwell would take these large imposing expanses of black and then use small variations of color to accentuate his powerful abstractions inspired much of my current work. For instance, in the painting “Hung,” in the Media Loft exhibition you can see how I outline the main female figure with pinks and whites; if you look closely at this piece you can see Motherwell’s presence.

ELEGY to the SPANISH REPUBLIC, 70 (seen above) is by Robert Motherwell. It’s oil on canvas, 69 x 114 inches (1961) and is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, NY (photo: the internet).

The image below is by Handler and titled HUNG. It’s a mixed media photo with paint, 30×40 inches. The artist says this work was inspired by Robert Motherwell’s Elegy painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Do you see the connection?

Adam Handler, Hung

Q: This exhibition includes almost no collages.

In addition to his paintings, Robert Motherwell made collages. I saw your solo exhibition last year at the Bendheim Gallery in Greenwich, CT and you included many collages and photocollage paintings. Did you stop making collage?

AH: As an artist, I go back and forth between mediums. One month I will work only on collages, and then for the next six months I may work only on photographs. I really am not sure what forces an artist to change mediums or focus on different disciplines. Currently, I’m been experimenting with video which is all very new and exciting.


Q: Why are your photos slashed with paint?

AH: Many of my photos are slashed with paint because the photograph was taken with the intention that paint would be added. Sometimes I’ll see something which, on it’s own, would be a boring photograph but when paint is added I’m able to alter the context and confuse people, which in turn creates something original and unique.

The image below, titled Happy Birthday Buttercup, is a photo and painting  (presented in a glorious gold leaf frame). It’s 10 x 10 inches.

Adam Handler, Happy Birthday Buttercup

Q: Do you have a special process that’s unique to your work?

AH: I wouldn’t say there’s anything particularly unique about my process other then I hardly ever have a planned idea. I guess you can say I’m a “go with the flow artist.” My work is about spontaneity and whatever happens, happens; I guess you can say this might be a Surrealist/Dada way of working.

Q: Do you work at a table or an easel, on the floor or on the wall?

AH: Hahaha, I would have to say all of the above. I’ve splattered paint of every surface I know. From the wall to my car, to my kitchen.

Q: Is your studio clean or cluttered? Does its condition affect your work?

AH: My studio is extremely cluttered and messy. It affects my work in the sense that when I step into my studio it’s as if I am literally a drip of paint on canvas.

Adam Handler, Photo of HIs Studio


Q: Talk about your studio. Is it located in a community of artists?

AH: My studio is located in Long Island City, NY. It’s a very industrial area which has a personality and feel all its own. My studio is located in the back of a 12,000 square foot custom framing factory, which is owned by my grandparents.

Q: Has the neighborhood and the location had any effect on your work?

AH: I don’t think the location has had an affect on my work. I guess I don’t know because I never painted anywhere else.

Q: Are you part of an artist’s community in LIC? Please describe it.

AH: No, I am not part of an art community per se. Since I work in a custom framing factory, I am constantly talking and discussing art with gallery owners, dealers and fellow artists.

Q: MAX’S KANSAS CITY was a place for artist, musicians, poets and politicos to hang out in the 1960s and 1970s. Is there a place like MAX’S that you and young artists go to talk art?

AH: No, I don’t have any hangout where I chill with other artists. It would be cool, but I feel that artists today are much more solitary then the 60’s.

Q: What kinds of paints do you use? Do you have a favorite color?

AH: I use many different types of paints. I’ve probably experimented with everything on the market from acrylics, oils, enamel, watercolors, Japan color, etc.

I usually do have favorite colors, but they come in phases. One month I’ll love blues, right now I’ve been into very pale pinks and light greens.

Q: What do your colors convey?

AH: My colors usually convey a feeling or an emotion. If I want a painting to feel modern and clean, I’ll use more black and white. If I want a painting to feel airy and light, I’ll use pale blues and subtle pinks.

Q: How do you describe your media? Do you call your works paintings? Photographs? Mixed media?

AH: I describe each of my works separately.  For instance, I will call a photograph with paint, a painted photograph. When painting with collage paper, I’ll describe the separate medias. For instance, “oil, wax and paper collage on canvas.”

Q: Do you take (and do you print) your own photographs? Is your studio set up with photo equipment?

AH: I take all my own photographs with the exception of various collage works; in that case, I use magazine articles and such. I do print my own photographs, however am restricted by the size I can print.

Adam Handler, My Friends, My Habits, My Family

For my larger prints, 20×30, 30×40, 40×60 inches, I use professional printers. I do collage photos and actually some of my most recent work, such as “My Friends, My Habits, and My Family” in the Media Loft show bears this technique. This work is large format and 40×60 inches.

Q: Your website shows you also work in sculpture. The works are expressive, figurative and made with clay. Why clay? Do the paintings relate to the sculptures?

AH: I started off sculpting in college, experimenting with marble, wood and clay. I worked with clay for the closeness it allowed me with each work. My sculptures really don’t relate to my paintings in any way.

The DADA INFLUENCE on your work

Dada was a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland during World War I, and peaked by 1916 to 1922.  It laid the groundwork for abstract art, performance art, postmodernism, and is still an influence in today’s art world.

Q: Your artist statement mentions Dada and the Cabaret Voltaire. In what ways does Dada inspire you?

AH: What inspired me about Dada was not so much the art itself but the idea behind the art; the freedom of self expression and passion and sometimes absurdity that made this movement a breath of fresh air to me.

Q: How is your subject matter contemporary for your generation (if it also harks back to an earlier time)?

AH: I am not really sure how my work is considered contemporary. I know that I’m contemporary for being a young artist currently producing work, but other then that I just don’t know.

Q: What response do you want viewers to have to your works?

AH: From my viewers I want intense reactions; whether they are overwhelming good or bad, I want them to really feel the work. Way too often I see exhibitions where people walk out the same way they walked in, which sucks! Art legally allows us to introduce people to a new world. It allows for us to offend or inspire in the confines of a room.

Q: You say Robert Rauschenberg was an art hero to you. His work was about performance and participation. How do you want your work installed and how do you want viewers to participate with your work?

AH:  I love playing around with hanging a show and experimenting with different lighting, but sometimes you need a good curator to understand and lay out your vision on the wall.

Q: You talk about originality. What do you mean? Do you believe an artist can be original in the 21st century, in a media saturated world?

AH: Being original in the 21st century seems nearly impossible, but I do believe it’s possible; I have to! I need to believe that there are still ideas and subject matter, poses, paintings, photographs that the world has not seen.

Q: How can an artist make subject matter excitable?

AH: I believe an artist can create “excitable” subject matter if they stay true to themselves. As long as your art reflects your life, personality, relationships, etc, you will be one of a kind.

Q: You say you want to expose subject matter in a way that has never been done before. How will you expose it?

AH: I expose my subject through my close personal relationships with my family, my friends, my fiancé, my cat (haha). Much of my work is based on my life, my dreams, and my fantasies. I find if you let yourself be vulnerable through your art people can see something that’s new, exciting and overwhelmingly personal.

I want to thank Adam again for being so real and personal, and hope every person who read the interview felt they got to know more about the artist and the ideas that inspire his work.

I welcome your comments below.

Please note images belong to the artist, so you may not copy without  permission or credit to Adam Handler, and also note this interview is © 2011, Nancy Egol Nikkal.