Archive for the 'C Touchon' Category

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
 

Maximalism and Minimalism in Collage, part 5

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

“I have devoted myself to the technique of cut-paper collage.”
— Hope Kroll

Mysterious and spooky? Could it be possible that I am examining an art collection in the Addams mansion? No. The essence is far too rarefied for that. Do I instead find myself at a museum of lost Victorian curiosities? No. The effect is much too audacious for that. Perhaps you already have guessed my desirable plight. Yes, dear reader, I am slowly steeping in the sublime virtuosity of a Hope Kroll collage.

Known to many as the “paper surgeon,” the artwork of Hope Kroll would be astonishing enough for her extraordinarily meticulous “scissorship,” but she has clearly decided to put her demanding technique into service for eloquent visual statements that intrigue both the mind and eye. As Cecil Touchon points out, this would be outstanding enough, but she does not stop there. In most of her collage assemblies, she also introduces a signature three-dimensionality to heighten the surreal impression. A maximalist at heart, the prolific artist would certainly agree with Milton Glaser that “Less in not necessarily more.” Somehow she manages, time after time, to achieve unified outcomes from highly complex compositions, while at the same time evoking a powerful atmosphere that first entices, then engrosses, and finally beguiles the observer. I occasionally find her work a bit unsettling, but never unsavory, and always aesthetically exquisite. Like a fine bouillabaisse, her creations delight multiple senses.

Sample a few of her delicious recipes below and “hope,” as I do, that she continues to make many more.
 

Reconfiguration
Hope Kroll, 2003

Grooming
Hope Kroll, 2006

The Way Children Learn
Hope Kroll, 2010

Science And Faith
Hope Kroll, 2008

Thought Process
Hope Kroll, 2009

Ghost in the Machine
Hope Kroll, 2012

All Things Collage: Year One

Friday, July 12th, 2013

“Any fool can carry on, but only the wise man knows how to shorten sail.”
— Joseph Conrad

Looking back on a full year as a blogger, many of my initial objectives have been met, but there are even more subjects to tackle in the coming months. Can I find the right balance between words and images, welcoming others to act as better scribes for what is happening in collage and remembering that I would rather be holding a pair of scissors than typing at a keyboard? The exceptional print quarterly out of Canada, Kolaj, has also celebrated its first birthday. 2012 was the perfect year to salute a century of collage as a modern art and also to look around, assessing the current maturity of the practice. I still have much to say about the pioneers and exemplars — Gris, Schwitters, Hausmann, Höch, Cornell, Hamilton, Johnson — for there is much to observe and absorb about their seminal talismans and bodies of work.

It is equally important to evaluate more of the leading and emerging artists now actively producing what may be known as “post-centennial collage,” perhaps the most vital period of cross-pollinated output in the medium’s history. Where to focus next? Those who magnify the traditions of Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus, or Layerism? Dedicated collage abstractionists such as Touchon, Dryden, Romoff, or Gordon? Masters of the outer reaches of a Maximalist/Minimalist spectrum such as Kroll, Reitemeyer, or De Blauwer? I have for some time lamented the lack of a visual-arts phenomenon equivalent to how musicians have traditionally improvised together, but my recent awareness of dynamic collaborations between collage artists is forcing me to change my mind. Is it time for me to take a closer look at the creative fusions instigated by Collins, Holmes, Daughters, or Wilkin?

My, my . . . have we just laid out another year or more of entries? And I have not yet “scraped the working surface” of all the collage artists who make the contemporary scene so exciting. Do I possess the necessary wisdom to tame my ambitions and “shorten sail?” My mind rebels at the idea that I cannot be an artist and a writer, too. I am no scholar, and some art historians would scoff at my correlations, but I cling to the notion that there is a place for insights about our medium that can come only from a person who faces the same challenges as my working peers when confronting a pile of scrap.

One more thought: As the digital age sweeps over the planet, is there also taking place a not-so-quiet backlash against the erosion of manual dexterity? If so, is there a more compelling counter-trend example than the current explosion of tearing, cutting, assembling, transferring, and pasting? And beyond the familiar “analog” technique, what can be said about the deep influence of visual collage on the preponderance of montage in all things sensory — music, performance, film, and media design? This site can become a place where all of this is explored, discussed, shared, and challenged. Much of that is up to you, valued reader. Meanwhile, I shall continue to see, write, and make more art. Stop by again, soon!
 

Every Instinct of My Being Rebels
collage miniature by J A Dixon
7 x 5 inches
 
Purchase this artwork!

An exhibition in Durango.

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

My appreciation to Cecil Touchon for including one of my works in a collage exhibition at the Durango Art Center. Cecil has said, in his typically understated manner, “I just grabbed some things off the walls at the archives, with the thought of techniques used as examples for the upcoming workshop, which is sold out already … and I also wanted to show the international nature of the collection.” He often refers to the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction, but not to his impressive labor as a preservationist and his effort to raise the profile of the medium during its centennial year.

Plate Touchonics ~ J A Dixon

Plate Touchonics
collage on canvas
by J A Dixon
12 x 12 inches
collection of the
Ontological Museum

Grateful Ode to Merz

Monday, September 17th, 2012

“When we look at (the work of) Schwitters, we must realize that it was made in a time with its own historical zeitgeist. The attitudes of the time, the philosophies, the hopes and the fears are impossible to duplicate today. We live in a different age, with three times the population, with technologies they could only dream about. So if one finds inspiration … it must manifest itself in the present. This has deep implications. The radical-ness, the surprise and sense of discovery, and the freshness that Schwitters was able to experience through his process is now a known part of history.”
—George Rodart

Four of my works have been acquired by the Ontological Museum in connection with the centennial of collage, 1912–2012. Collage artists worldwide owe a debt of gratitude to Cecil Touchon for his extraordinary labor on behalf of the medium. Working for years to establish this important institution, his efforts leading up to and during 2012 will be long considered one of the most significant developments (if not the most significant) during this milestone year. The centennial exhibition in Pagosa Springs opened last week. It features more than 400 works contributed to the museum’s permanent collection from artists living in 30+ countries and will be on view through May, 2013. This exceptional exhibition can be viewed online in its entirety.

No visual art form is more vital than collage on its one-hundredth birthday. Certainly there are antecedents in mosaic, the fabric arts, and various folk traditions, but historians have decided that either a Frenchman or a Spaniard first crossed a significant threshold a dozen years into the previous century. Some may continue to debate whether collage as a technique was “invented” by Georges Braque or Pablo Picasso, but in my considered view, the seminal genius of the medium was Kurt Schwitters, perhaps the first modern artist to fully master the process. I’m not alone in this opinion, and my conviction should be no surprise to anyone who has discovered this blog.
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