Archive for the 'Mail Art' Category

Windows of Opportunity

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

 
Windows Of Opportunity ~ collage miniature by John Andrew Dixon

Windows of Opportunity
collage miniature for mail art by J A Dixon
4 x 5 inches
collection of N G Armstrong

More than a dalliance this time . . .

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

“The best part about mail art is that you don’t have to be there in person to be in on the action.”
— Anna Banana

First of all, I must admit I do not know all that much about the practice of “postal art.” Although I have mailed thousands of gift art items over the decades (usually disguised as greeting cards), I have never considered myself a “mail art” enthusiast, having had only indirect contact with the popular activity. I am aware that Ray Johnson was a seminal force in the phenomena, and that many think he envisioned the virtual community long before today’s online social networks took hold. Blogsites such as Jennie Hinchcliff’s exuberant every day should be a red letter day have enabled me to experience an enthusiasm for the genre in a vicarious way. For those who create collage, the art form has overlapped with collaboration to some degree, with the essential exchange of creations taking place. Like many artists, I have some major problems with the “art world” as an entrenched, elitist institution, but, because I have no philosophical bias against the idea of an “art marketplace,” the correspondence art movement never has had much of a grip on my sentiments or available time. Nevertheless, I strongly identify with the inclusiveness and magnanimity at the heart of the practice.

I am not entirely sure why I responded to a recent mail art proposition from Nancy Gene Armstrong, but I had taken note of her work for the first time last year and the appeal of having an example of it arrive for me in the mail was undeniable. It came as a vertical design, nearly 26 inches tall, that unfolded in a paced, rolling presentation. Below are two exquisite details from her generous offering.
 

mail art detail ~ Nancy Gene Armstrong

 

mail art detail ~ Nancy Gene Armstrong

two mail art details
collage by N G Armstrong
collection of J A Dixon

a message to Aunt Erma, 1964

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

“Have been real bad about not writing.”
—Miles, Jr.

My collage on 50-year-old postcard arrived in Wales and it was posted to the ABAD site today. The reverse of the vintage card is probably more interesting than my improvisation on the image side. A message from Miles, Jr. (sitting in the Louvre, resting feet more tired than eyes) was written on July 10th and received an Army Air Force postmark on July 13th. Apparently his Aunt Erma was in the hospital — a nephew reaching out to “the only family person who knows these places.” Whether or not she ever came home is unknown, but we can only imagine that the card from Paris evoked for her more than a few memories of Europe, the bitter as well as the sweet.
 

ABAD 2014 (reverse of vintage postcard substrate)
collage on 1964 postcard by J A Dixon
6 x 4 inches, not for sale

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

Impure Thoughts

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

 

Impure Thoughts
collage on postcard by J A Dixon
5.375 x 6.875 inches

A Tempting Inclination

Friday, September 20th, 2013

My submission has been added to the Scopophilia Website, as the exhibition expands its online presence. It is interesting to observe how the transatlantic mail system added a bit of visual distress to my postcard. Why are collage artists fascinated by such things?

Thanks again to British artist Theo Miller for his ongoing management of the international Scopophilia Project. Still hoping to learn if the volume of submissions will culminate in a physical exhibition.
 

A F T E R

B E F O R E

A Tempting Inclination
collage on post card, 6 x 4 inches
by J A Dixon for Scopophilia exhibition

The joy of looking . . .

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Scopophilia, the postcard collage exhibition, has been featuring contributions at its Website. It is always a delight to see new names and fresh approaches to our medium. I must admit that there is much for me to learn about the history and current state of Mail Art, which has always been closely tied to collage, based on the trends set in motion by Ray Johnson and his collaborators.

My thanks to British artist Theo Miller for his ongoing management of the Scopophilia project. Many of us look forward to learning if the volume of submissions will culminate in a physical exhibition.
 

A Tempting Inclination
collage on post card, 6 x 4 inches
by J A Dixon for Scopophilia exhibition