Archive for the 'Bibelot Series' Category

Suspend this series?

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

“When I begin a new work, I have to start from scratch again, from nothing. I have to be cleared of everything: Tabula rasa.”
— Arvo Pärt

Suspend the Bibelot Series? It doesn’t look like it. I begin a collage artwork with no preconceived notions and before long it appears to be a “bibelot.” Spontaneity apparently works that way, revealing some unmet creative urge that is removed from conscious awareness. Shall I ever purposely end a particular series? More likely than not, I’ll just come to the conclusion that there are no more variations on that theme with a need to emerge — until I am proven wrong.
Suspend (Bibelot 013) ~ a collage miniature by John Andrew Dixon ~ part of his Bibelot Series

Suspend (Bibelot 013)
collage miniature by J A Dixon
4.625 x 4.625 inches
Purchase this artwork.

Year Five: a new “Janus Project” in the works?

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

“There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say ‘It is yet more difficult than you thought.’ This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
― Wendell Berry

Someone once opined that “since most people feel that the world gets worse, not better, the only basis of genuinely popular art is nostalgia.” There may be some truth in that. However, one could recall examples of entirely new things gaining wide popularity, too, especially in music. The visual artist must accept that most people will never grant them the position that they ascribe to musical and culinary artists, because nothing in life will supplant music and food in their daily routine of emotional attachments (although, with the current explosion of binge-on-demand streaming entertainment, other creatives may be poised to achieve a similar status).

When I reflect on my fifth year of musing about collage at this blogsite and look ahead to the next, I realize just how much work there is in front of me to puzzle through some of these ideas. Like many artists, I hope to juggle goals that may at first seem in contradiction: to attract patrons, to inspire colleagues, and to please myself. I don’t see any way to approach it other than to balance elements of our past (the appeal of the nostalgic), our present (the lure of the trend), and our future (the surprise of the new). How convenient that balancing elements in Janus-like fashion just happens to be my craft!

In all seriousness, collage (and the related montage-inherent media) are almost uniquely suited to the challenge at hand, and perhaps that is why post-centennial collage is becoming a worldwide phenomenon in the 21st. Diving more deeply into this quandary will provide ample food for thought in the coming year. Meanwhile, I shall make more!

an untitled ‘ultra miniature’ by the prolific N Soppelsa

Nikki Soppelsa
Look ahead to a discussion of “ultra miniaturism” in collage.

The Skin Trade ~ R H Hunt

Robert Hugh Hunt
Stay tuned for a review of contemporary collage abstraction.

another example of humor in collage by T R Flowers

Terry R Flowers
Is it time to peruse the long history of humor in collage?

Construction of Space ~ K Schwitters, 1921

Kurt Schwitters
And I shall never tire of studying and sharing the work of KS.

that compelling beat . . .

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

“Rhythm is one of the most powerful of pleasures, and when we feel a pleasurable rhythm we hope it will continue,”
– Mary Oliver

Not long ago I thought this series had run its course, but now I realize that it contains a rhythm which I hope will never stop. Originally inspired by the lost bibelots of George Headley, it has taken on its own continuity as a collage exercise that calls me back. I might spy a particular color, a certain fragment of printed typography, a shiny ingredient, a scrap of this or that — the next thing I know, a new miniature has cracked its shell, and it is unmistakably a “bibelot.”

It will not portend the fruitful struggle of demanding art. Rather, it is a favorite tune sung again, a pleasing walk taken more than once before, a quiet gift to oneself. And, just perhaps, a new mystery will be revealed — something worth investigating later — when simple delight must give way to challenge.
Churn (Bibelot 151) ~ a collage miniature by John Andrew Dixon, Danville, Kentucky

Churn (Bibelot 151)
collage miniature by J A Dixon
6.625 x 7.75 inches
Purchase this artwork.

Verso la grandezza!

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Color relationships, compositional dynamics, and aesthetic harmonies often bubble effortlessly to the surface as a collage artwork evolves. It remains a spontaneous wonder to me, and I am satisfied to leave any symbolic associations to others.
Grandezza (Bibelot 867) ~ a collage miniature by John Andrew Dixon ~ part of his Bibelot Series

Grandezza (Bibelot 867)
collage miniature by J A Dixon
6 x 8 inches
Purchase this artwork.

Continuing the Bibelot Series

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

Yule (Bibelot 001) ~ collage miniature by John Andrew Dixon ~ part of the Bibelot Series of collage artworks

Yule (Bibelot 001)
collage miniature by J A Dixon
4 x 5.5 inches
Purchase this artwork!

An end is perhaps the beginning

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

“What the Color Field painters shared most importantly with the Abstract Expressionists was the conviction that the role of art was not to report on the visible, but to reveal the unknown. They shared too, the belief that paintings that resembled nothing preexisting could have the presence, authority and associative richness of other real things in the world.”
— Karen Wilkin

I began my Bibelot Series by recalling to mind the lost treasures of George Headley. With this 13th miniature, I am wondering if the meditation may have reached its culmination. The primary reason centers on the changes that occurred with my process while creating this most recent composition. Because I find myself thinking less about the precious fabrications that provided the initial inspiration and more about the aesthetic qualities of the artifact manifesting before me, the connection to the Headley works have diminished enough for me to consider whether or not the transition to a new investigation is taking place. The color and abstract relationships inherent in an evolving collage surface seem to exist for their own sake, rather than as an homage to other artistic ideas, and point to a deeper reality. What comes next? As a student of American History, the number 13 has never felt unlucky to me. We shall see what follows.

Spy (Bibelot 848)
collage miniature by J A Dixon
4 x 5.5 inches
Purchase this artwork!

March Exercise  |  year nine, day sixteen

Sunday, March 16th, 2014


journal experiment:
harmonious balance of counterpoise



Refine (Bibelot 632)
collage miniature by J A Dixon
5 x 6 inches
Purchase this artwork!

March Exercise  |  year nine, day thirteen

Thursday, March 13th, 2014


journal experiment:
activation of space



Ascend (Bibelot 136)
collage miniature by J A Dixon
5 x 6 inches
Purchase this artwork!

March Exercise  |  year nine, day twelve

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014


journal experiment:
color, depth, density



Awaken (Bibelot 409)
collage miniature by J A Dixon
5 x 6 inches
Purchase this artwork!

March Exercise  |  year nine, day five

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014


journal experiment:
activation of space



Circumvent (Bibelot 572)
collage miniature by J A Dixon
5 x 6 inches
Purchase this artwork!

Bibelot Series

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

“The museum suffered a crisis in July 1994, when burglars broke into the jewel room and stole 103 pieces worth $1.6 million, including most of the bibelot collection. The biggest art heist in Kentucky history remained a mystery for five years, and then a group of Ohio thieves was caught and convicted. Unfortunately, the bibelots apparently had been dismantled and sold as scrap for a fraction of their value.”
— Tom Eblen, Lexington Herald-Leader

I made a visit to the Jewel Room at the Headley-Whitney Museum only once, many years ago, and I was deeply inspired by the capacity to bring raw imagination into physical manifestation. The heartbreaking theft of numerous bibelot masterworks makes it nearly impossible for me to return and view a diminished collection. I have dedicated this series of miniatures to my vivid memory of what used to be.




Dedicated to the lost masterworks of George Headley.
Click on a thumbnail image to preview each miniature.