New Work: Nexus
16" x 20"
Found materials collage on matboard
What the hell are found materials? Glad you asked! I did a little something different for this piece and used the pages of some magazines for my collage material. I had some initial misgivings but I am glad that I pushed on with the idea. I like the results.
There were a couple of problems right off the bad. One, magazine pages are very thin. They tend to tear easily when cut and the cuts made with the scissors aren't really clean. The scissors need a little resistance to make smooth cuts (curves). Good quality construction paper is the perfect weight. Watercolor paper is too thick really and magazine pages are too flimsy. Sigh.
I eventually solved the problem of having just the right thickness by adhering the magazine pages to construction paper. That seems easy enough right? Not! The pages kept buckling and drying with wrinkles and air bubbles. I tried different combinations of various glues using both wet and dry paper. Believe me, if there was a particular scenario, I tried it! I finally hit on the idea of using a spray adhesive (Elmer's). This allowed both the magazine page and the construction paper to dry together at the same rate. There was minimal wrinkling once I smoothed things out with a stiff piece of plastic and let everything dry. I then went back in and applied a varnish to protect the paper from water and light. There was quite a bit of wrinkling too at this point but things eventually dried flat. The magazine pages cut nicely and I am happy overall with the way things look.
The second problem is really more aesthetic I guess. Not many of us are going to rise to the level of Robert Rauschenberg or Romare Bearden, both of whose work I have seen in person. There is something about how "neat" the finished pieces look. When other people use different collage materials (such as magazine or newspapers or printed items) it looks great. Somehow when I do it, I feel it doesn't. So, I wanted to be careful with using collage materials that I didn't paint myself. What I learned (again) isn't so much that it is the material that makes things look amateurish and sloppy but how those materials are used. Maybe I am not explaining it well but I want something pretty, something lively, and something that looks "finished" and "professional." Anyway.
I titled this one "Nexus" because I had this idea of connectedness as I was working. Each of the shapes used relates (hopefully) to the other shapes, either through color relationship, or value contrast or similarity, or line direction. Each piece is great by itself but ultimately all the pieces have to work together. They have to like one another and be friendly! I also think that many of the shapes look like creatures in some way. It's my belief that all living (and dead) things are connected on some level, be that evolution or heredity or something else. So, that connectedness and subsequent intersection is what I was thinking of as I placed each shape.
OK, if you made it this far, thank you. Drop me an email and let me know what you think.
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