"Study of a Bowl"
Fabric Collage 16 x 21
Fabric Collage 16 x 21
I have to admit I've never really understood collage. It's probably like jazz: I never liked it, never understood it, until I actually played it. Then I was converted! If I actually tried collage, perhaps under the tutelage of someone who did understand it, then perhaps I would finally get it and start to appreciate it more. In the meantime, I'm making inroads to understanding and appreciating it, thanks to a couple of internet friends who's blogs I follow. By watching their progress, their insights into process, this art form is becoming less of a mystery to me. And so when I ran across an article in the July/August 2010 issue of The Artists Magazine on collage, I was ready to read it with interest, not skip over it.
The article entitled "Piecing It Together" starts right off by saying that "The technique...speaks to the hectic pace and fragmented vision of our time" and notes that it can be found everywhere "from actual materials affixed to canvases in museums to digital collages that promote products on billboards or online." Ah, digital collages - now that I understand (at least, I think I do). And then it goes on to praise its "ease of entry" i.e. you don't need to know how to draw, that bugaboo that sends so many people into the mindset that they have no artistic abilities. With collage, you find your materials anywhere and everywhere, and it can become "the ideal medium for exploring compositional possibilities...experimenting until you find a pleasing arrangement..."
Surprisingly (at least to me), one of the artist's featured in this article is Laura Breitman who uses fabric instead of paper. A former quilter, Laura now glues instead of sewing on her collage elements to create extremely realistic works based on photographs. Her "glue" is Golden Acrylic Medium. This sounds all too familiar. - if nothing else than from the pages of Quilting Arts Magazine,and the experimentation of many art quilters I'm aware of. If not for the use of acrylic medium followed by a finishing coat of varnish, I'd easily categorize what she does as applique, not collage. Her process is not unlike art quilters who carefully cut shapes from pre-fused fabrics to create pictorial works. I sense another blurring of the lines in art, only in this case, it's quilters moving into an established art medium rather than an established art medium, such as painters, moving into the quilt world.
I'm not saying that what Breitman is doing is not collage - I can definitely see that it is. What I think I am saying is that by recognizing the similarities with a technique in quilting that I am familiar with, I am understanding collage, as well as my own approach to quilt art, a bit better. And wondering if the distinction in classification/terminology - collage vs fused applique perhaps - is justified. Look through her gallery and tell me what you think.