Collage is a form of alchemy, it is a process where I can use elemental materials; glass, paper, metal and wood. Add paint or glue; take bits of this and pieces of that and assemble them into a cohesive whole. It represents unstructured structure, a juxtaposition of…well…the stuff… that is all around us. Finding materials feels a bit like a scavenger hunt, something I absolutely loved as a kid; I look at the recycling bin with a different eye these days.
There is a freedom to collage that feels similar to writing poetry. Sometimes it is enough just to suggest the thought without complex “sentences”.
I approach each piece with a sense of elasticity; sometimes allowing the material to dictate the work and vice versa. Some of my collages feel as though they are ripped from a primordial place, deep in my subconscious and others feel more like play. The ones that seem like play happen quickly, with little thought or direction, like it does not matter how the pieces come together, only that they do.
I am not someone who feels the need to explore a single medium until I fully plumb its depths. Collage allows me to dabble with all sorts of materials and methods, satisfying my intense urge to experiment.
My collages absolutely take on a life of their own and they constantly morph into something new and different so that each piece is a lovely surprise at the end. It makes me stay flexible, allowing the materials their individual vagaries; sometimes you just cannot glue this to that. Every piece takes on a personality and communicates to me what they want next. Many times, one piece will invoke another; it feels like magic.
I can be a kid again, with no restrictions, playing with paste and glue but knowing that there is the sophistication of being able to convey a complex thought or emotion through the work. I find that my work is evolving as I mature.
For the past few months, I have been playing with pads of scrapbooking papers. I use a photograph for my starting point and cut the paper into one inch squares which are then applied to canvas or plywood with gel medium. The squares form the basis of the image and for detailed areas; I cut paper into other shapes as needed. This is a form of paper mosaic. Recently I started experimenting with torn and burnt paper, wood, wire, glass, paint and some found materials.
Taking various fragments and turning them into something that is not only whole but also has a voice is a form of catharsis. We strive to make sense out of those experiences that make up a life and then to ascend above the day to day. It is a scary process to allow oneself the freedom to choose the bits and pieces of our lives and put them together in a way that makes sense to us even if it does not make sense to others. Collage is exactly like the process of living…you take what comes your way and turn it into a personal statement.