Collage, in my experience, is informed by life going on in a period in time. It started, as a “named”art form during the Modernist period in the early 1920’s, particularly DaDa. I find myself being very much influenced by simple paper materials and the news, film, people, particularly women, since 2012.
The word “feminism” came to me via my daughter’s post graduate studies.
We live in Ireland. Island life is a different experience from life in America where bridges, overpasses, complicated roads, flight, boats and trains all create a sound track for life.
Clouds are one of my favourite natural phenomena. They appear in my collage quite often. Overlapping groups of people file before my eyes when I’m working with paper - impressions and fragments of sights I’ve experienced factor in through memory. I love paper and I love communicating via collage. Docentry, college teaching and working with my husband on his art practice (in the States) have fleshed out my understanding of composition and space. I live white space in art and graphic design but I don’t employ it very often in my work. My work is dense and often strange, in that objects may appear in unfamiliar context.
There are undertones of the quietly subversive in collage. The effects might call up a fond memory or uncomfortably awkward moment where there were no words . Simple materials allow for random samplings of the everyday, ridiculous pairings and desires represented by the dark side and animals. People are transported, by dirigible, from one horror to another in one series. Playing with art history places time-honored faces in contemporary vignettes. Edges are important as are associations with the mundane and personal.
I grew up in urban NJ, USA, straight across the Meadowlands from the World Trade Centres. My father worked in The Newark Museum until I was 12. I spent a lot of time looking at art by myself wondering what the people sitting for portraits might be thinking about. Who might they go home to or what did they like to eat, dress up in or pretend to be? In our apartment, a framed portrait (with a museum light over it) of a Van Eyck lady, took pride of place over a Magnavox Radio.
Juxtaposing imagery came from everyday life. Encouraged, always, to work with my hands, collage came to me early and has never abandoned me. For the past 5 years, our house is full of piles of paper scraps, foregrounds, backgrounds, people, bodies, dismembered heads, limbs, animals and birds of all varieties. My tools are a pair of scissors given to me by my son and daughter in law for Christmas, one year, and a bespoke pair of Sheffield scissors. The former serve me better. Paper comes to me via magazines, abandoned and water-damaged books, de-accessioned library books, newspapers – always incorporating something from the Sunday Times. In Cork, I always asked my art appreciation students to do the same in their sketchbooks. Current events are fodder for collage, a scavenger’s medium. Humour is allowed.