Picking up the Pieces:
Contemporary Collage and Construction
July 30 - Oct. 8, 2006
Southern California’s rich history of collage as an expressive medium for contemporary artists was displayed in an exhibition at the William D. Cannon Art Gallery. "Picking Up the Pieces: Contemporary Collage and Construction" presents works by a group of eight artists who expand the traditional boundaries of the art form known as collage.
"Picking Up the Pieces" offers works by Southern California artists Tony Berlant, J.J. L’Heureux, Kim MacConnell, Roxene Rockwell, Genie Shenk, Michael Madzo, Doris Bittar and Maritta Tapanainen – all artists who redefine and expand the established notions of collage. Narrowly defined, collage is the construction of images through the deceptively simple act of pasting cut and torn papers – thus creating a new work of art from imagery and materials that already existed. Collage, derived from the French word coller, is a mode of perception, a multi-dimensional language that first emerged as a fine art medium in the pasted papers of the Cubists Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. Since then, masters of collage such as Kurt Schwitters, Hannah Hoch, Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell changed the face of Modernism by asserting that art could be made from almost anything, not just torn papers.
The eight contemporary artists were united by a love for unconventional imagery and the ability to recognize beauty and humor in simple scraps and refuse. By incorporating recycled materials with direct relevance to the present-day environment - fragments of cloth, tin, wood, food wrappers, computer-generated imagery and photographs - these artists established a familiar link between the viewer, his or her surroundings, and the work of art. They not only created a second life for these things, but also transformed inelegant, disparate materials into bearers of multiple meanings. A 24-page, full-color catalogue accompanied the exhibition.