|Flaunting my petticoats: The Red Tyger |
glued on a monoprint of the same collage (2012).
Please click to see larger images. Note that some pictures are not embedded but at the foot of the post--all pictures mentioned are in the post. To see more of the Bullington-Youmans interview party, click on the appropriate tag at post's foot. To see more of You Asked, do likewise.
Youmans: As a collagist, you're a follower of a wandering muse, and you often completely revise a collage multiple times before you are satisfied. A visit to your two studio rooms shows that you have a bewildering variety of painted scraps and pieces in baskets and even littering the floor--small catalysts for the imagination. Clearly you often cut up and paint many times before you are finished with a piece. Ignoring for a time the realm of instinct and muse-ravishment, can you describe your methods in a systematic way?
|Collage-plate (with drawing atop) |
from which collographs of Red Tyger were printed.
For me, collage is a very versatile means of invention and of expression. Below are just some of the many approaches to the technique I've used—with images to go with them.
1. Overlap and Layering: Layers add dimension and texture to a 2-dimensional piece. In layering my collages, I consider what needs to be covered from the bottom layer, and what should still be visible. I like to let my petticoats show a bit.
The Red Tyger (2012) is a collage of figures cut from a drawing in India ink, acrylic and black gesso monoprint using an earlier version of this collage as a plate (technically, this is called a collograph). The blue-gray background of the collage is another collograph taken from the same plate. Thus the blue-grey shapes behind the collaged figures act as shadows. A new intensity and vibrancy in my layering of collages emerged in 2015: In my own Voice (Listen) adds one layer of collage over another, with layers of freshly painted pattern in between.
|In My Own Voice (Listen)|
3. Sharp Contrasts in shape, color, value, texture, and pattern generate energy. Lady with Two Cats plays red against green, polka dots against batik-like patterns and near solids, and not least, the human creature against the cat. [See 8th picture at foot of post.]
|detail, In My Own Voice (Listen)|
|early draft, Antiquity|
7. Vision and Revision: Finally, collage is a very forgiving technique. It allows me to rethink and revise paintings and even collages that don't quite succeed. Though the number of choices it gives me can be confusing, collaging allows me to save the good, remove the bad, and rearrange the whole. Collage often reinspires a piece that is going nowhere. [See image 6 at foot.] In Tijuana 1953 (2011), I cut up and rearranged an abstract painting I'd spoiled, overlapping and reinventing the elements until they danced.
|Flower Filigree as a painting on paper, uncut as yet, January 2015|
|Background for Flower Filigree, March 2015|
|Flower Filigree with background 1|
"Background 1 had a palette too similar
to the pierced painting Flower Filigree."
|Background 2 for Flower Filigree, March 21, 2015|
|"Pairing Flower Filigree with the 2nd background created visual excitement."|
|Tijuana 1953, 24" x 24"|
"Overlapping the elements until they danced for me."
|Medallions "repeats yet varies circle & star at least 15 times each."|
|Lady with Two Cats plays red against green and|
polka dots against patterns and solids.
|Leaves of Grass before cropping, with a couple of scraps of collage.|
|Leaves of Grass, 2014|
|The Little Engine That Could, 2015|
"In The Little Engine that Could, the last surprise,
perhaps, was the big red bird shape."