Archive for the 'M Rose' Category

A Book About Death ~ Wales

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

“The project has become The Book About Living.
—Sonja Benskin Mesher

Ray Johnson, the original “most famous unknown artist in the world,” produced his A Book About Death during the years 1963 to 1965. The pages were randomly mailed and offered for sale. Complete copies were compiled by a rare few. Johnson was a significant bridge between the groundbreaking work of Schwitters, the sensibilities of Cornell, and the emergence of what would become the most widely recognizable features of Pop Art. He was highly influential in the Mail Art, Installation Art, and Performance Art movements, as well as late 20th-century neo-Dadaist trends.

Since 2008, Paris-based Matthew Rose has actively aroused a worldwide interest and vitality that perpetuates the legacy of A Book About Death. A new call to artists from the Royal Cambrian Academy in Wales and the full history of ABAD can be studied at this site. An exhibition at MoMA Machynlleth planned for later this year will include a collage from me (featured below, produced on a 50-year-old postcard). An online archive will share details of the exhibition and record artworks as they come in. Participate! You have until September 30th to mail your contribution.
 

ABAD 2014
collage on 1964 postcard by J A Dixon
6 x 4 inches, not for sale

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go”

Friday, June 20th, 2014

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”
— Twyla Tharp

Places to go, ways to travel, and flights of fancy . . . A series of local exhibitions at the Boyle County Public Library’s Mahan Gallery has been an effective catalyst for me to create new pieces based on unifying themes. I have recently experienced mixed emotions about the ubiquity of vintage material in contemporary collage, but the topic of this show had me hunting through my morgue of old postcards and other relics to produce a pair of artworks on canvas. Yes, we all dig the instant “gravitas” of using old stuff, but will art historians say we copped out, if we do not accept the challenge of working with ingredients from our own present-day culture? I am just musing about the state of the medium, not any artist in particular. I see a hundred or more collage artworks posted online each week that rely exclusively on 20th-century material, and much of it seems stuck in a bygone avant-garde style. It is important for all of us to keep in mind that the Dada artists so widely emulated worked with material from their own time. Perhaps the opportune approach is to blend it all together, past and present. As post-centennial collage artists, we also owe each other a bit more constructive criticism than I currently observe. As the details below illustrate, I have absolutely nothing against using vintage material. I think that artists such as Hope Kroll or Fred Free or Matthew Rose (to offer only three examples) are creating some of the more exceptional work in the medium. On the other hand, there are many who seem to be using it as a crutch, over-relying on the antique impression of the ingredient material itself, rather than the juxtapositional synergy or overall aesthetic effect.

As the artworks for “Places” also demonstrate, I continue my effort to liberate a collage from the traditional glass barrier. To do so, it is necessary to find a proper level of protective sealant to balance visual appeal and durability. I prefer to avoid an overly polymerized impression with a finished surface. Because I primarily work with found material, I have had to learn which ingredients can handle direct exposure (for an effect similar to the painted surface). Nevertheless, some are simply too fragile and will always require a safe abode under glass.
 

 

left: Here and There (detail)
right: Now and Then (detail)
two collage artworks on canvas by J A Dixon
12 x 12 x 1.5 inches each
available for purchase

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 2

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

“Transforming nothing into something is something of course, but because it’s a metaphor (let’s say it’s a reflection of life and death), doesn’t mean it’s especially important.”
— Matthew Rose

Is a pizza fundamentally more satisfying than a beer?

Perhaps this question is a peculiar way of following up on my previous post. The subject of maximalism and minimalism in collage is worth continuing, and I readily admit that our topic would benefit more from an interactive discourse than a single voice, but such is the nature of a blog that has yet to gain a participatory following. Nevertheless, I cannot drop the discussion without further remarks and, in particular, some worthy examples of each methodology.

Getting back to the opening query . . . There is nothing more inviting on a hot summer evening than a cold beer after a day of effort. It can immediately lose its appeal if flat or flavorless. A slice of pizza will look much better — steaming, fragrant, and loaded with toppings — but not if it is dry, overdone, or charred underneath. What I am trying to suggest with this oddball reference is the idea that a simple thing or a complex thing is not necessarily better than the other. It is all about how each is presented. And the most meaningful conclusion may be that both are enhanced when the two exist together. Whether you investigate Picasso, Braque, or Schwitters, it is clear that they thought of collage as an extension of painting, and how can one say that maximalism or minimalism in painting takes supremacy over the other? One cannot, of course, and either method is more interesting when the entire scale of approaches to the medium are continually explored (in some cases by the same artist). So, returning to my feeble analogy, we recognize that the combination of “good stuff” determines a synergistic effect. Collage as an art form is more vital today as a result of this diversity of orientation.

Our medium does not exist in a vacuum. Maximalism, minimalism, and everything in between is rooted in the movements of Dada, Surrealism, Constructivism, Expressionism, and Popism. One contemporary collage artist with a keen awareness of these influences is the “American in Paris,” Matthew Rose. He has created masterful works at multiple points in the spectrum of complexity, and a few examples appear below. In future entries, we shall feature other artists who probe minimalism and maximalism in collage.
 

The End Of The World
Matthew Rose, 2008

Immaculate Perception
Matthew Rose, 2010

Breathless
Matthew Rose, 2010

China Star
Matthew Rose, 2010

Experience
Matthew Rose, (date unknown)

Lucky Strike
Matthew Rose, 2010

Self Portrait
Matthew Rose, 2011

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!

A Book About Death

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

“Ray didn’t talk about it, he just did it. That’s why you don’t find art magazines lying around quoting the art philosophy of Ray Johnson.”
—Toby Spiselman

Ray Johnson, the original “most famous unknown artist in the world,” produced his A Book About Death during the years 1963 to 1965. The pages were randomly mailed and offered for sale. Complete copies were compiled by a rare few. Johnson was a significant bridge between the groundbreaking work of Schwitters, the sensibilities of Cornell, and the emergence of what would become the most widely recognizable features of Pop Art. He was highly influential in the Mail Art, Installation Art, and Performance Art movements, as well as late 20th-century neo-Dadaist trends. Paris-based Matthew Rose has actively aroused a worldwide interest and vitality that perpetuates the legacy of A Book About Death, including a 2010 incarnation (in which I made a small contribution). The full history can be studied at this site.
 
ABAD 2010 by J A Dixon

ABAD 2010
collage miniature by J A Dixon
6 x 4 inches, not for sale

The ’61 Olds

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
—John Shedd

For some time now I’ve been observing how Matthew Rose and Randel Plowman make effective use of birds, and I acknowledge that there is something irresistible about including them in a collage. Most likely, it goes back to Joseph Cornell’s aviaries. I also noticed that I placed a bird in my Face with Asparagus as a sort of eyebrow. I intend to use that image as the “face” of The Collage Miniaturist. Below is a study lifted from one of my personal journals, which tend to be caught between a collection of organizational lists, private anecdotes, and diary of thumbnail sketches.

Since I’ve posted my review of Kathleen O’Brien’s recent exhibition, it’s probably time to sail this boat out into open water. Thinking of birds, perhaps I should say instead, fly out of the nest, —or— drive that ’61 Oldsmobile to a destination unknown. Tomorrow sounds good.
 

The ’61 Olds by J A Dixon

The ’61 Olds
collage miniature by J A Dixon
3 x 3 inches, not for sale