Archive for the 'C Touchon' Category

Worthy of note . . .

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Sharing a major announcement in the world of collage and assemblage: The Ontological Museum has undertaken an entire makeover of its online archives. Let all doff their hats to Cecil Touchon!

Beware — connoisseurs of the collage medium can be swept into this magnificent black hole of imagery. Just a few outstanding examples are featured below.

Fellow collage artists, it is up to us to grow and preserve this extraordinary collection. Become a subscribing member!
 

The Sun Always Shines on TV
collage artwork by Cory Peeke, 2010

7 am
collage artwork by Joan Schulze, 2010

Ritual 2
mixed-media collage by Svetlana Pesetskaya, 2011

Case #10
small things by Hope Kroll for Fluxcase Micro Museum, 2011

(title unknown)
mixed-media collage on paper by Denise Pitchon, 2012

Queen Rose Score
collage on paper by Matthew Rose, 2012

(title unknown)
collage for Dada Centennial by Bob Rizzo, 2016

Homage to Merzbau
collage artwork by Sabine Remy, 2016

(title unknown)
asemic collage on paper by Jim White, 2018 
 
 
 
(images courtesy of The Ontological Museum)

Various and Sundry Scraps ~ No.1

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Don’t we all want to be Cecil when we grow up?
There was a time when Merz was deemed degenerate.
Destruction of the Merzbau and the human toll in Hannover.
Kurt Schwitters and his fellow artists in captivity.
How synthetic cubism led to collage as a modern art.

Thanks to The Kurt Schwitters Society for sharing several of these links.

Three more book covers . . .

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”
— Ellen Parr

“What do I make next?”
— Paula Scher
 

Curiosity is perhaps a common characteristic of all visual artists, but certainly it is a driving feature of what motivates the collage practitioner — curiosity about acquiring and editing discovered remnants, curiosity about choosing a substrate or background context, and curiosity about composing selected ingredients for creative juxtaposition. We are all, in essence, “curators” of what others have cast aside.

Cecil Touchon has written, “The hunt for found materials is crucial to the process of many collage artists, causing them to be consummate collectors of things. Their collecting of material artifacts for their artistic appeal and possibilities rather than for rarity or value often makes them keenly aware of popular culture — present and past — with the subtle eye of an anthropological curator. Collage artists explore the artifacts that have poured out of the cornucopia of modern society, using them as grist for the creative mill, generating new works of art with materials that have already had their useful life and have been retired from their intended purpose. In the hands of collage artists, these materials often achieve poetic stature when their inherent visual qualities are brought to the fore and their former usefulness disregarded.”

Every creative person is interested in what comes next. Those of us who focus our curiosity on the discarded are also interested in what we shall rescue and transform in order to create it.
 

Touché ~ J A Dixon

Touché
collage miniature on book cover by J A Dixon
7 x 10 inches
 
Purchase this artwork!

Mussel Power ~ J A Dixon

Mussel Power
collage miniature on book cover by J A Dixon
7 x 10 inches
 
Purchase this artwork!

Evolucent ~ J A Dixon

Evolucent
collage miniature on book cover by J A Dixon
7 x 10 inches
 
Purchase this artwork!

DADA CENTENNIAL Day of the Dead

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

It is with high anticipation that I await my first look at the new publication which documents the Dada Centennial exhibition organized by the Ontological Museum. My sincere thanks to Cecil Touchon for including the essay that I wrote last yearOn Kurt Schwitters and a Century of Dada — but, most of all, for volunteering so much of his time to this historic observation and to the ongoing administration of the institution he founded, now located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The exhibition at the archives of the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction opened on November 4, 2016 and lasted through January 31, 2017. A worldwide array of Dada-inspired artists sent artworks for the show that will be added to the permanent collection. They are all displayed in the full-color, 275-page catalog that is available for purchase. A “Merz Painting” by Peter Dowker is featured on the cover. In addition to my essay, the publication has an introduction by Touchon, another essay by Drager Meurtant, Birth of Merz by Schwitters, original verse by Dada artists, writings by Hugo Ball, three of my experimental miniatures, and collage art by some whose work I have spotlighted here at TCM, including Dowker, Hope Kroll, Zach Collins, Nikki Soppelsa, Erin Case, Joel Lambeth, Melinda Tidwell, Evan Clayton Horback, and Katrien De Blauwer.

When I experienced the milestone Schwitters exhibition at the Berkeley Museum of Art in 2011, I failed to bring home the forty-dollar catalog. When I got back to Kentucky, I discovered that the compendium was already worth $200. I do not know what long-term plan the Ontological Museum has for this publication, but it may not always be available. Go online, take advantage of the current discount, and buy it now.
Grateful Ode to Merz ~ John Andrew Dixon

Grateful Ode to Merz
collage miniature on Bristol by J A Dixon
homage to Kurt Schwitters
collection of The Ontological Museum

Dada Centennial Exhibition to open in Santa Fe

Friday, October 21st, 2016

As part of the celebratory observation of the Dada Centennial organized by Cecil Touchon, I picked three of my experiments from earlier in the year (March 6thMarch 7thMarch 21st) to refine and submit to the Int’l Museum of Collage, Assemblage & Construction. Sure wish I was a bit closer to New Mexico.
 

Dada 100 (SCORE 20) ~ J A Dixon

Dada 100 (SCORE 20)
collage miniature by J A Dixon
4 x 5 inches
permanent collection of the Ontological Museum

Dada 100 (URGER HEESE BURG) ~ J A Dixon

Dada 100 (URGER HEESE BURG)
collage miniature by J A Dixon
4 x 5 inches
permanent collection of the Ontological Museum

dixon_dadajuliejudy

Dada 100 (Julie and Judy)
collage miniature by J A Dixon
4 x 5 inches
permanent collection of the Ontological Museum

a final glance back at JUXTAPOSE . . .

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

“Collage artists form a unique and interesting community. The hunt for found materials is crucial to the process of many collage artists, causing them to be consummate collectors of things. Their collecting of material artifacts for their artistic appeal and possibilities, rather than for rarity or value, often makes them keenly aware of popular culture — present and past — with the subtle eye of an anthropological curator.”
— Cecil Touchon

During a gallery talk in early March for JUXTAPOSE, I floated this question to my audience: “What makes collage and assemblage rewarding for those of us who can draw?” The answer for me is that we see in the found material of our physical surroundings the ingredients for a different kind of creative spontaneity. As in most improvisational activity, there is a splendid opportunity for mystery, surprise, discovery, and joy. But there is more to it than that. I am convinced that what distinguishes artists who do contemporary collage and assemblage is their acute connection to the mundane “stuff” of culture and the inner need to bring a measure of order and harmony from the sheer volume of material produced by our throw-away society — with its chaotic, numbing effect on our sensibilities — to infuse a new energy into that which would otherwise be discarded. It is a burning desire to create value when none exists and to find wonder, meaning, significance, and (yes) beauty, where none could have been expected.

It was a distinct privilege to exhibit with some of the finest collage and assemblage artists in Kentucky, and if nothing else happens on the art front for the balance of 2016, JUXTAPOSE will have made my year.
 

Pretty Please Peony ~ Meg Higgins, Louisville, Kentucky

Pretty Please Peony
Meg Higgins
collage on wood panel

collaborative collage on oversized playing cards ~ Terry Ray Flowers and Robert Hugh Hunt

collaborative collage on oversized playing cards
Robert H Hunt and Terry R Flowers

No Stopping ~ Brad Devlin, Louisville, Kentucky

No Stopping
Brad Devlin
assemblage, found objects

Intergalactic Passion ~ Brandon Long, Danville, Kentucky

Intergalactic Passion
Brandon Long
recycled promotional banners

six collage/assemblage artworks by Lisa Austin, Louisville, Kentucky

six collage/assemblage artworks
Lisa Austin

Pollinators 1 ~ Kathleen O’Brien, Harrodsburg, Kentucky

Pollinators 1
Kathleen O’Brien
mixed-media collage

Crossroads ~ Teri Dryden, Louisville, Kentucky

Crossroads
Teri Dryden
collage from discarded books on panel

Einstein ~ Robert Hugh Hunt, Richmond, Kentucky

Einstein
Robert Hugh Hunt
collage with watercolor on canvas board

JuxtaposeGrouping

This image represents to me the strong diversity of the JUXTAPOSE exhibition and reminds me of the exceptional “company” my art shared earlier this year — a pair of shadow boxes by yours truly in proximity to pieces by Robert Hugh Hunt, Cynthia Carr, Teri Dryden, and Lisa Austin.

It won’t surprise you to learn that I am looking for a good excuse to publish a compilation of JUXTAPOSE images with artist comments. Please let me know if that interests you!

A universal antidote . . .

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

“Self-consciousness is the enemy of all art, be it
acting, writing, painting, or living itself, which is
the greatest art of all.”
— Ray Bradbury

I was honored, but also thrilled, to accept my third invitation for the “New Year New Art” exhibition at our local Community Arts Center, one of the outstanding cultural institutions in Central Kentucky. The extraordinary thing about this annual show is a freedom to display, The Barretts ~ a portrait by John Andrew Dixonwithout juried appraisal, one or two pieces for which one has passion. The only restriction is that the work not be over four months old. I decided to create something around the holidays specifically for the opportunity, and, because I had just completed a difficult portrait commission in watercolor and pencil, a more personal form of expression was a welcome idea. I had used an illustrative, “news-magazine-cover” style that always has had great appeal to me, but that over the years has challenged my self confidence and repeatedly has put my perfectionist tendencies to a stress test. Fortunately, I have discovered a universal antidote for all that — collage.

For the January exhibition I wanted to do something fresh, to surprise myself, but also, as most artists prefer, to create something that would please others, that would excite an individual’s subjective response. Mixed-media collage is a medium that people find both provocative and delightful, and to which I am strongly committed, but that should be no surprise to anyone who follows this site. As a working designer and graphic artist, I return to collage on a nearly daily basis as fuel for my creative life and a potent solvent for that side of myself which continually flirts with self doubt if something might not turn out exactly as I imagine it should. All that nonsense fades away when I incite the spontaneity of this magnificent medium.

Of course, I remain captivated by the ability to make something of value from material that otherwise would be thrown away or recycled. I enjoy creating artwork that has bold visual appeal from across a room, but that also provides a depth of interest at close observation, with many stimulating details within an intimate viewing distance. “Matthew’s Touchonic Lodge” is primarily an abstract composition, and I salute two collage artists whose work I admire with my title and embedded allusions. “Apparition Rising” uses ingredients that are more whimsical, but perhaps slightly “spooky” at the same time. A phrase from a song that I like sparked the genesis of its assembly. Both are significantly larger than my typical miniature, more dimensional than a standard flat surface, and, as with all my designs, I worked intuitively with color, contrast, and the activation of space. In addition, I continue to push the effect of collage as a stand-alone treatment that does not demand the protective glass barrier. Please let me know what you think of these new works.
 

Dixon_TouchonicLodge

Matthew’s Touchonic Lodge
mixed-media collage by J A Dixon
22.5 x 20 inches, December 2014
title source: homage to artists M Rose and C Touchon
Purchase this artwork!

Dixon_ApparitionRising

Apparition Rising
mixed-media collage by J A Dixon
19.5 x 27.5 inches, December 2014
title source: from the song “Ghost Town” by J Brasfield
available for purchase

A Lively Coexistence

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

“Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.”
— Pablo Picasso

My passion seems to be split between collage as artifact (the artistic specimen) and collage as painting (the artistic surface). I revere the pioneering giants whose work must be carefully conserved, but also continue to be impressed and inspired by Cecil Touchon, Jon Measures, Robert Mars, Teri Dryden, Zach Collins, and other contemporary artists who successfully bring a painterly approach to our medium. In order to release a mixed-media collage from beneath the traditional glass barrier, it is necessary to find a proper protective coating to balance visual appeal and durability. Because I work with found material, I have had to learn what kinds of ingredients can handle direct exposure (for an effect similar to the painted surface). Some are too vulnerable and require framing behind glass. Both types of artwork are represented in my new solo exhibition, Ingredients Reclaimed. The example shown here, layered above the conventional canvas and stretcher, relies on wet-to-wet contact of adhesive and gesso to firmly seat the “scrap.” Using a series of light-touch applications, a coating of matte acrylic sealant tops off the piece.
 

A Lively Coexistence
collage on canvas by J A Dixon
11 x 14 inches
available for purchase
 
Purchase this artwork!

Touchonic Rites

Monday, January 27th, 2014

When I was invited by Danville’s Community Arts Center to submit a piece for their annual “New Year, New Art” exhibition, I picked an homage to Cecil Touchon that I finished in December. Any observant artist who introduces cropped typography into a collage cannot be unaware of his significant body of contemporary work.
 

 

Touchonic Rites
collage on canvas
by J A Dixon
20 x 16 inches
currently on consignment
 
Purchase this artwork!

Beyond “vacation art” . . .

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

“I have been producing collages for nearly fifty-five years, many of the early ones were done during long flights or in the waiting areas at airports.”
— Richard Meier

This season of the year finds many artists visiting family and friends. My spending time as a traveler without the suppletory activity of creating art makes for a less than satisfying experience. Visiting new places or returning to familiar haunts is noticably deficient if not combined with sketching or assembling ingredients for a collage experiment. Of course, we all need to relax now and then, sharing time with people who mean the most to us, but many of us also recognize a price to pay whenever the creative urge is asked to take a back seat for any length of time. What better opportunity than a change of environment to infuse our investigations with a fresh dose of spontaneity?

The sabbatical is a time-honored tradition for creative people, which brings to mind Cecil Touchon’s remarkable Paris Papers. But in contrast to this kind of planned artistic get-away, there is also much to be gained by a custom of fusing the influences of short-term travel with an ongoing artistic process. This makes me think of the highly publicized collage artwork of American architect Richard Meier. I saw something years ago which suggested the collage-making proclivity that runs parallel to his professional practice developed from the found material he acquired crisscrossing continents as an in-demand designer, and that many of the early works were created on airliners. I remember being impressed with his wooden case, crafted to accommodate several square working surfaces plus the modest number of accourtrements a collage artist requires to do one’s thing. No doubt his days of transporting blades and scissors on aircraft are part of the past. The status of being a celebrated architect has provided Meier ample “rare” opportunities to showcase examples of his collage. Whether or not the eventual significance of his work within the medium will prove commensurate with the attention it has already received remains a matter of opinion (like nearly everything in the art world).

Two years ago, I had the privilege to view a milestone exhibition of Kurt Schwitters originals at the Berkeley Art Museum. During my stay in Northern California, a brother-in-law was kind enough to let me set up a makeshift work area in his home office so that I could capture as collage experiments the flow of new stimuli. Please allow me to share two of those artworks for the first time:
 

Untitled (Back to California, part one)
collage experiment by J A Dixon
8 x 9.5 inches, not for sale

Untitled (Back to California, part two)
collage experiment by J A Dixon
8.5 x 7.5 inches, not for sale

The Paris Papers

Friday, November 15th, 2013

A recent series of intensive collage investigations undertaken by Cecil Touchon while abroad — resulting in The Paris Papers — are more than worthy of our careful study. One of the medium’s most assiduous practitioners, Mr. Touchon clearly earned a well-deserved break after his significant contributions to the Collage Centennial, and yet it is no surprise for me to learn that he would combine it with such a Herculean self-assignment. We are all the beneficiaries.

p s ~ He also let everyone know the good news that he quit smoking during his month-long adventure hanging out with collaborator Matthew Rose. Amazing.
 

fs3384ct13-cecil-touchon-web

Fusion Series #3384
collage on paper by Cecil Touchon
made with bits of paper from Parisian street posters
8 x 12 inches, 2013