Peninsula School of Art’s (PenArt) latest exhibition The Future of the Collage opens August 16th and runs through October 5th, 2019 at PenArt’s Guenzel Gallery, 3900 County Road F, Fish Creek, Wisconsin. The exhibition features works by seven contemporary collage artists including B. Basch (WI),Tim Abel (IL), Tanya Hartman (KS), Andy Ducett (MN), Carol Emmons (WI), Melissa Oresky (IL), and Ann Toebbe (IL).
Defined as an artistic composition made of various materials such as paper, cloth, or wood glued on a surface, collage and its 3-D counterpart assemblage, offer many advantages. The materials are inexpensive and readily available. The ability to work quickly and rearrange encourages experimentation. Starting with found images eases fear of the blank page while also providing limitations, forcing creative solutions.
According to PenArt’s Executive Director Catherine Hoke, “While many artists leverage these advantages to work out preliminary ideas, the artists featured inThe Future of Collage use collage and assemblage to create fully realized works of art. Each artist has their own reasons for embracing the technique.”
Melissa Oresky and Ann Toebbe use collage as one would paint or any other material—to create form, color, and texture. Melissa Oresky models her artistic process on the way plants build themselves, creating a sense of “plantlikeness.” She layers paint and collage materials from root to leaf, from back to front, from greyscale to color. The result is a work of art that contains the depth and density of vegetation.
Ann Toebbe, who has “always loved Picasso’s cubist collages,” also uses collage for its dimensional properties. Her paintings have a curious expression of space—they read like flattened doll houses, showing the floors and all four walls of a room straight on at once. While the architecture of a room is painted directly on the surface, the objects that inhabit that space, that serve as stand-ins for the absent people, are placed on top. Their cut edges call attention, inviting viewers to examine them as anthropologists might—as things of value, specifically chosen, placed, used, and remembered by the people who lived there.
For Tim Abel and Andy DuCett, their process starts with the collection and categorization of materials. Tim collects and uses overlooked materials, keeping an eye out for pattern big and small. The scraps of pattern he finds on a daily basis are combined and repeated, transformed from seemingly useless ephemera into stunning quilt blocks.
Carol Emmons and Tanya Hartman use objects and materials for the stories, associations, and meaning they carry. According to Emmons, “[…] successful collage/assemblage is both cognizant of that baggage and uses it to meaningful effect.”
On a fundamental level, many of the artists who work with collage are collectors—of memories, stories, and objects. A large part of their artistic process occurs while searching, collecting, documenting, categorizing, organizing, and arranging. When asked about his motivation, Tim Abel replied, “I am a collector, scavenger and pack rat. Making art is my way of maintaining control over these impulses.”
While this act of creating and assembling “sometimes come easy, or it might take years to fall into place” according to B.Basch, it is the rare spark that happens when disparate materials come together, that makes the resulting works much more than the sum of its parts.
The Future of Collage opens on August 16, 4-6pm with an opening reception and gallery talk. B.Basch and Carol Emmons will be on hand to discuss thier unique approaches to collage and assemblage. The event is free and open to the public. The exhibition is open for viewing Monday through Saturday 8am to 5pm through October 5.