Saturday, June 8, 2013

Collage - It's sculpture in 2D

Some six months ago I had planned on taking a class in abstraction. I felt my painting lacked something indeterminate and I'd hoped a little guidance might bring new direction to my work. But there weren't enough numbers for the class to go ahead and since I had some ideas for 3D pieces in my sketch book I ended up taking another semester of sculpture instead. 
I am enormously glad I did as I've developed such a love of carving over the past few months I'm not sure there's time for much else in the near future. But still, I can't shake the odd moment of restlessness and the occasional desire to try something new. I'd come across the incredibly exciting work of English painter Ian Francis and I'm certain he uses masking and maybe sgraffito and decalcomania to achieve his results and I determined I should try to make pictures using as many non-traditional (I use that term loosely) techniques as I could come up with.
A quick google of collage and I came across Derek Gores, a New York artist who seems to work almost exclusively in the medium and I was taken aback. I'd attempted collage once at the suggestion of Painting Tutor Sally Duhig and while I enjoyed it, I dismissed it at the time, preferring to focus on that semesters  subject of study. Though looking back, the collage was a much more successful piece of work than the painting it was supposed to inform, which I subsequently painted over.
Gores uses swatches of magazine clippings (and whatever he can find) like daubs of paint, to create very realistic yet abstracted images. I don't know if he projects outlines or draws from photos and I don't really care, the derivation of the design seems of little importance compared to the process of assembling all those clippings and cuttings together into one single image.
My time for making art is fractured into small blocks and while I try to make art every day, it's rarely for extended periods. The preparation and clean up associated with  painting is something I've come to view as  a chore and the demands of family life often require I stop what I'm doing at a moments notice, leaving quick drying acrylic paint caked on the pallet. And I've avoided oil paint for the fumes and the toxicity of the clean up. Collage seems a no fuss solution.
So here is a collage of my good friend Heck Tate, based on a print I made in printmaking class, which is based on a drawing I made in drawing class. I think It's a promising start.

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