Archive for the 'L T Holmes' Category

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!

By Heaven’s Good Grace

Friday, December 28th, 2012

“Whatever an artist’s personal feelings are, as soon as an artist fills a certain area on the canvas or circumscribes it, he becomes historical. He acts from or upon other artists.”
— Willem De Kooning

“You can never see too many things in a work of art. Itself, the work is a means for discovering what is already within us. The true work of art is more than its creator; it is always beyond him; soon it enters another orbit not his, because the artist changes, he dies, while the work lives in others.”
— Michel Seuphor

As I look back on six months of producing this site, I recognize that there are probably only a handful of people who currently pay a visit. To those of you who do, please accept a sincere tip of the hat. I hope that you find my periodic entries to be stimuli worthy of your time. Perhaps 2013 will bring a wider audience.

Collage is a distinctively collaborative medium, at times directly, but always indirectly. We are continuously interacting with those responsible for the ingredients we value enough to incorporate into a work. They might include one of the finest masters of the brush, an outstanding photographer, a bull-pen illustrator, an obscure commercial artist, or an anonymous shipping-carton keyliner. All that matters is this: Each has in some way caught hold of our eye, mind, or heart. Each has become an influence and unwitting contributor. For reasons not entirely clear, some of us attempt to have a more active effect on the state of our art by regularly making words, too. Allow me to bring a few stimulating blogs to your attention, if you haven’t already discovered them—

matthew rose studio
kathleen o’brien studio
a collage a day
daily collage project
with scissors by hand
paper with a past
every day should be a red letter day
lynn whipple’s blog
janice mcdonald collage art studio
four corners design
the altered page
collage clearinghouse

 

By Heaven’s Good Grace ~ J A Dixon

By Heaven’s Good Grace
collage miniature by J A Dixon
5 x 5 inches
 
Purchase this artwork!

Broken Qualifications

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

“Any true artist is putting down the most accurate formula he can for what he perceives … The truth is the truth and you don’t want to change it to make it more palatable to reach more people.”
— Robert Motherwell

I frequently make reference to figures who have made their mark on art history, but I also find the work of my collage contemporaries very stimulating. An astonishing number of artists are exploring this vibrant medium who remain true to a keen perception that is beyond an art-buying public looking for familiar effects. This is nothing new, and presents a problem only for those who attempt to gain wide popularity. Occasionally, I am lured by a collage that has made a clear stab at shock, irony, or absurdity. These evocative goals, or some level of social commentary, are worthy objectives for collage as an art form (for which it can be strongly suited). They are among the different approaches to an orientation that Laura T Holmes refers to as “intentional design.” At any rate, I will usually set aside admiration for a conceptual process and re-focus on the visual aesthetics that continuously capture my interest: color, shape, texture, depth, rhythm, resonance, counterpoint, and compositional harmony. So much the better if layers of symbolic meaning emerge, and an observer brings his or her individual responses to the finished result.
 

Broken Qualifications by J A Dixon

Broken Qualifications
collage miniature by J A Dixon
6 x 8 inches
see the revised version