Thursday, August 3, 2017

Collage with Text

hungry, collage on paper, 2017

I very rarely use text in collages. That wasn't always the case, when I first started making collages they tended to be full of text. At some point, however, I realized that the imagery in a collage should constitute the primary content. Relying on text too often results in the text being a caption which reduces the potential impact of the visual elements.

I use text fairly often in collages, but I use it as a graphic element, rendering it illegible. You can see examples of that here and here, and in a bunch of other pieces I've posted to this blog over the past couple of years. I do use legible text on rare occasions, but it's something I approach very carefully. If it starts feeling like a caption, the text goes.

Here are some very recent examples of collages with legible text. All three were done within about a fifteen minute time span a couple of weeks ago. I was feeling uninspired in the studio, edging on bored, and without thinking through what I was doing, grabbed a book with text and no images from my studio overstuffed with materials to cut up, cut out a page at random, and started slicing out fragments of text. The one at the top of this post was done first, the text is on a laser print of a photo I shot. The two below were made from pages taken from a couple of art books I had just bought at an estate sale.  

Tantrum, collage on paper, 2017

Oh, it Hurts, collage on paper, 2017

I'm liking all of these. While it's not a permanent shift in direction for me, these were fun and satisfying to make, and I'll likely do some more at some point.

While I'm on the subject of text in collage, I must recommend the work of Brandon Downing. I discovered his book Lake Antiquity at Powell's Books in Portland a few years ago. and had to have it. If you're at all interested in the use of text in collage, buy his book.

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