J Gallery Presents the Art of Collage
J Gallery presents “Collage: Art Assemblage - Parts to Whole” from February 5 to March 19, 2018. Four artists, Katie Conley, Michele Missner, Sue Gilliam and Cary Jones present dynamic compositions made from unique materials and techniques. The artists will speak about their work at the opening reception hosted by the Visual Arts League on Thursday, February 8 from 7 to 8:30 pm.
The technique of collage began with the invention of paper in China in the 2nd century BC and became more widely used by 10th century Japanese calligraphers who glued paper texts onto surfaces for their poems. But it wasn’t until the early 20th century that collage became an important expressive art medium. Picasso and Braque experimented with this technique they called “collage” by gluing disassociated materials to the surface of their paintings and drawings moving away from reality toward abstraction. The word collage derives from the French “collier” meaning to glue or paste.
Today artists continue to experiment with materials and methods for aesthetic reasons as well as referencing social concerns and popular culture. The four artists in the J Gallery collage exhibition offer their own unique perspectives on this modernist art technique.
Artist Katie Conley captures moments of beauty and joy in her artwork. She spends most days covered in oil paint, but she also loves collage, mosaic and almost all forms of art. For as long as she can remember she has lost herself in art. She followed her passion in college, studying Studio Art at Indiana University and earned her master’s degree from the University of Louisville in art education. Katie began making postage stamp collages after seeing a display of this art form at a childhood neighbor’s house. Many of her ideas come from inspiration found in her paintings and mosaics as well as what interests her in her daily life. Katie uses mainly cancelled (used) and old stamps and comes across unique and interesting stamps in her work. She begins each collage piece with a google search for images that represent the topic she has chosen. She works the stamps into her drawing on paper and within the borders of the design. She tries to use stamps that relate when possible, such as stamps from India for yoga poses. Katie rarely has to buy stamps as many friends and family members pass along their old stamp collections to her. www.katieconleycreative.com
Cary Jones started doing collage in 2008. All of his art is created from the materials he collects off the streets. He gathers scraps of wheat-paste posters put up by street artists, pieces of stickers and posters from the backs of signs, the sides of dumpsters and utility boxes. Sometimes he finds colorful venue wristbands on the sidewalk or in the gutter, where they have been thrown away. Most of Cary’s collages are made from material gathered in Austin, however recently he has found collage items in Portland and Los Angeles. He does not mix materials from different cities and from different neighborhoods within the same city. The idea and importance of location is essential to his collages. Once Cary has collected enough material with the colors and images he wants, he begins to piece them together like a puzzle. Cary says “I often start with the corners and work inward. I try to balance color and shape. I find that faces jump out at you, eyes draw you to them and that movement flows naturally from left to right. Connecting a line on one piece to a similar line on another piece provides for interesting and often odd and fractured presentations. I like to think these collages are trying to talk, that they have a story to tell. It is a story from a particular time and place in a city, but they speak a common, shared language. I call it Street Talk.”
Michele has enjoyed drawing and painting for most of her life. She has included collage in her art for quite a long time. Michele says “It is fun to use all kind of materials as well as paint to create my collage works. As I walk, I peruse the street and sidewalks for things that might be interesting in a collage. That is true of magazines I read, stationery, and ofﬁce supply stores where I shop. I enjoy abstract painting but I also explore realism as well and portray both in my collages. Collage adds a richness to the color and composition, especially the use of textural rice papers. Painting is a wonderful way of problem solving. When I paint, I ﬁnd that I concentrate wholly on the work at hand. Like most artists, if a painting doesn’t seem to work, I try to ﬁnd what I can do to make it come together. Adding the collage element often pulls a painting together. I am a self taught artist and have participated in workshops with many well known artists which has help my work develop and grow.” Michele is a member of the Waterloo Watercolor Group and belongs to the Creative Arts Society.
Sue Gilliam grew up in New Zealand and even after living in Texas for many years she is still inﬂuenced by the beauty of the landscape and gardens of her native land.
Her art journey started with watercolor then she moved into Acrylic painting. Now she does mostly collage, using papers, fabrics and found "stuff" creating both abstract and realistic compositions with a wide variety of materials. She regularly attends workshops taught by nationally known artists and keeps a large inventory of pictures, entering juried shows and exhibiting at many locations in Austin. Sue continues to try new techniques and has an ever increasing inventory of pictures and wall hangings which can be seen on her web site—suegilliamart.com. ■