COLLAGE MASSAGE EXHIBIT
solo exhibit of 80 Images
Art @ Mark’s Garage
Notes on 3/2010 thru 4/2016
As a creative way to use time, I pick up magazines and tear out any images that catch my eye. I trim and toss them into my three-drawer ‘collage’ box. I’ve done it for decades.
The other day, as I’ve done annually, I opened that collage box: big mistake! I was ‘gone’ the rest of the day. I took a break to walk the hill and eat dinner, but then stayed up until 1am… it’s been going on for a month now. I forget and then rediscover the deep joy that comes when I’m consumed by collage.
The Challenge: to find the ‘right’ mix of unassociated objects in the ‘right’ field, all trimmed and placed together in just the ‘right’ constellation to reveal a new universe, a reality, an evocative ‘fact’. They look visually, photographically, absolutely REAL, but what is shown is VERY SURREAL! These little universes force associations that evoke an emotion, a life situation (grief, beauty, joy, death)… abstract yet exact; a haiku, a visual poem, postcards from Wonderland. I find it SO enthralling, gymnastics for the imagination, an association exercise. Love love love it. ART! SUCH a PLEASURE:
Picture a room covered with 50 magazine pages(the settings). I sort through piles of smaller photos, looking for their ‘home’. Perhaps it is their color or shape or the story that emerges when they are put in the right background: it’s a treasure hunt. Eventually, each background has a little pile of these ‘possible’ elements. Then I sit with each collection, do some ‘rough cuts’ working on the composition, eliminate some photos, and hopefully dab glue on the parts to hold them as a thought together. After a few weeks of this (or when we need the room back) I stack them in folders labeled “to glue” and they all go back in the box.
This past month I’ve been glueing. The 20 ‘GLUE’ folders I found contain MIRACLES! It’s a demanding process. I cut away cleanly everything superfluous, a meditation in patience. The photographic detail of these magazine images (easily available to us all) is seductively lush. I’m fascinated (fastidious) about ‘placement’: to find the exact spot with other elements in place which makes the whole image pop, move, sing. This is a visceral, tangible response. I’m not talking something gossamer- it’s a pow WOW! AHH! in the gut. What IS that? What does it MEAN?
Art is an event. It provokes, evokes, confronts. Looking at these images, snipping corners and following lines, shaving off the sliver of extraneous color, I keep asking myself, ‘what is this about?’ The collage images are weird for ME too! What deep fun it is to manifest your subconscious! Sometimes it’s clear (pregnancy, potency, the birth of ideas & form. Power! Pele (above)! I just finished ‘Lazerus’.
Other times the image is a mystery, sometimes a feeling. I jot down titles, stammer to name these hypnotic images, each a photographic reality within itself. Sometimes the title can help to give that ‘pop’ to a viewer: The Guardian of Dream, Birth of Grief (to the left), Young Woman. A good title is a door.
It is hard to ‘find’ the point when an image is simple, a presence, clean and complete in itself. There are lesser successes. If it were easy I would not love doing it so much.
I have been reluctant to share them. I do enough public art, and these are so private, personal, and wierd! I feel both embarassed and apologetic, but also exhilerated by them! I want to share them, but assume they won’t be understood. Experience has confirmed this belief. Someday I will project them on a wall with a group who’ll just speak out with their responses. It will be a public experiment with ‘seeing‘ and ‘associating‘. I’d like to hear what people get from them. Slam Imagery! Some day perhaps.