There’s no need to ever take another picture of a house, a dog, or a sunset. If you open up a magazine or an old newspaper
, or if you do an image search online, you will find plenty of what you need. This is a symptom of our age : We hastily cut and paste things together every day in an effort to communicate. This said, it’s an extremely appropriate time for an exhibit about collage.
Mandie Turner-Mitchell’s curation at Eyedrum attempts to make
the contemporary connection between more traditional collage work and the information culture of the Internet. She explains, in typical Eyedrum fashion, “Collage is the blogging of the second dimension and blogging is collaging in the virtual dimension, whichever one that is.” Although the philosophy behind this curation is sound as well as provocative, beyond the title exists no actual reference to this idea in the show itself. At the very least, the posting of an essay is sorely needed. If one overlooks this technicality, however, the actual works on display are classic, refreshing collages made by locals: crude, honest and naïve. Jeff Taylor’s three collages are just strong enough to make me wonder what else he has in his studio. These works present sloppily layered transparencies with repetitious, stenciled images on top of paint and canvas. The largest one, Easy Armed Reach, is quite successful. It seems to have a painted, blue message at its core, but all that remains visible is “tree.” The colors clash in brightness, helping the work achieve dimensionality. Some kind of framing technique that hides the edges might have been helpful. Mostly I hate frames, but in this particular case, the raw edges detract from the work.
Examples of what I would call “classic collage,” Harold McNaron’s works are
like short poetry. My favorites are the simple ones with lots of background space: culture kite and soundboard swatch. McNaron’s use of found frames is a nice touch. Truett Dietz is a bit spicier in his classicism. Creamy found papers hang vertically by clips; glued on top are sparse combinations of black and white newspaper and color vintage clippings. His titles are humorously political: Women In Space, Not If I Can Help It” and American Den Of Serpents. Both artists rely on original clippings without using computers to scan and reprint. The downside of such simplicity is limitation of scale. I’m glad this Stan Woodard’s very small collages investigate this issue: They have been blown up, but unfortunately the originals are nowhere in sight. In Woodard’s case, Turner-Mitchell could have simply pasted a very long arrow down the hall to his studio, which is in itself a magnificent installation of three-dimensional collaged materials and lights. I’m not sure why this proximity was not exploited. An outlying participant is Hollis Hildebrand-Mills, whose more mature collage work is in the adjacent small gallery. The awesome muzak that plays over her collage video piece bleeds out over the rest of the show on a quiet afternoon stroll through the gallery. It’s too bad her video is not hovering over the main space since it might have added that contemporary element the show needs to complete its thesis.
The exhibit 2D Tweet is on view at Eyedrum through Saturday, December 19, 2009.