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I retain copyright to my work at all times. However, you may use my words and photos on your blog without asking for permission, as long as the following conditions apply: 1) it’s not a commercial use, 2) the work is attributed to me, 3) copyright notice is included (© Janice McDonald), and 4) you link to this site. If you wish to use my words or images for anything that might be commercial in nature, please ask.

And yet another… Salvaged Elements exhibition

Collage on flattened soapbox awaiting framing.

I’ve loved working on the ThroughLines series of collages and plan to extend that thinking to more work eventually but, for now, I’ve returned to working with ideas generated from the “Unboxed” collage series that debuted in a 2016 exhibition.

This next show is coming up fast so I quickly reset the studio, put away all those beautifully ripped strips of paper, and pulled out the flattened boxes that I’d been saving for just the right moment. I’ve made more than two dozen collages on flattened hotel soap boxes, along with other pieces that have been on my mind since the original show of Unboxed collages. I’m still finding it really intriguing to respond to the irregular shape and fold lines with found paper elements. The collages are currently in the process of being framed.

Soapbox collages in shadow box framing, each 10×10.” Shadows add so much!

The stairway at ReCreative gallery where the “black box” installation will go…

In the past, I’ve made collages on flattened boxes that were first painted black and that work continues… They are such interesting shapes on their own that I’m also working on a large installation of flattened and painted boxes to animate the space in the gallery under a black metal stairway. It’ll be a wall scaled collage, composed on the spot, out of black flattened boxes.

I’ll also be installing some experimental work on an arrangement of hangtags (the kind that typically describes clothing features). It’s inspired by the racks of formica chips I used to see hanging at hardware stores. My version will be a lot more varied and freeform, with each tag hanging from its own nail and combining to whirl up one wall in its own composition. At least that’s how I’m envisioning it… can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Paint patterns on the paper protecting my work table.

I’m totally enchanted by the the very graphic nature of the papers that are being created as I’m preparing the boxes and tags with black gesso… it’s bound to turn up in future work.

Black-painted flattened box with applied collage.

Salvaged Elements will be on view December 7 -28 at ReCreative Denver Gallery. I’m showing with fellow collagist Lili Francuz. If you’re in the area, please come by sometime during the run of the show — or for the opening on Friday, December 7 from 5-9pm when you can also enjoy the festive Luminaria event associated with First Friday in Denver’s Arts District on Santa Fe. (If you haven’t been to ReCreative before, note that you have to walk to the back of the Creative ReUse Store to access the gallery… assuming you can get past all the potential art/maker supplies you’ll encounter on the way!)

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All Through(Lines)… moving on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to everyone who came out to see my show earlier this fall, or viewed it online or via social media. And especially to those who bought some of the pieces: thank you so much for your support!

Collages from my ThroughLines show, September/October 2018

Collages from my ThroughLines show, September/October 2018

 

 

The work was well-received and provoked some very interesting conversations. To help people understand how the collages were put together, I brought a tray of ripped strips to the gallery… it was quite fun to discover that people left behind their own compositions during their visits! See below…

One of the compostions made from my sample ripped strips. (Courtesy of Dede Horan, perhaps?)

Good news: Two of the collages have been accepted to the biennial Art of the State exhibition, opening in January 2019 at the Arvada Center.

I’ve now moved on to preparations for my next show, opening December 7 at ReCreative Gallery. It’s a continuation of work on the Unboxed collage series, including an installation… more on that soon! If you are in the area, please save the date!

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ThroughLines Exhibition Opening / Views

I’m loving having this series of collages on the walls at Spark Gallery… I always gain perspective on my work by standing back and studying it.

My artist statement for the ThroughLines collages:

Recurring issues can confront and confound us, occupying our thoughts. Technology distracts us with incoming stimulation. Daydreams intrude…

These collages are visual riffs on all that we carry within: explorations of the processes in our minds as we address issues of bandwidth, multitasking and overwhelm—alongside goals of simplicity, mindfulness and purpose.

Each collage represents a moment in time, full of multi-layered and competing thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams, and memories—all moving forward and influencing each other—glimpses of the landscape of my mind.

The collages are made from ripped strips of contemporary repurposed paper using a wet working technique.

For those who were unable to be at the opening of my show at Spark Gallery, click below for a quick tour of my show as installed.

To see each collage in detail, view the ThroughLines: Virtual Exhibition on my website. Pour yourself a glass of wine (or beverage of choice) and see the whole show at your leisure!

If you have questions or are interested in adding one of the collages to your collection, please get in touch. Cheers!

ThroughLines exhibition on a quiet evening.

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ThroughLines show prep

Postcards for the show, atop the collage that provided the image.

I’ve been working steadily on collages for my ThroughLines show… recent weeks have included looking hard at them and making any last minute adjustments to the artwork. Then I varnish each one with a UV-resistant matte finish, adding hanging hooks/wires and title/care/inventory labels.

All of the work has been sent out to be digitally captured so that I have high-resolution, color-corrected files that could be used to print the images as enlargements, should there be interest in using the work that way.

ThroughLines collages drying in the studio after varnish application.

It’s amazing how much time goes into the unseen aspects of making art, not to mention marketing.

Hanging begins on Monday. It seems odd to be able to get all the work for a whole show into just a few boxes, but all the work is small this time, just 10 x 10 x .75.” Having never hung a whole show of such small work in such a large space, I’m really excited to see how it will look on the walls! As always before a show, I have a little trepidation, too — but hopefully they will be like little jewels, drawing people in to look at them more carefully. I haven’t been able to see the collages all together, with adequate white space between them, so I’ll certainly enjoy studying the work from a distance once it’s hung.

Here’s hoping some of you can drop into Spark Gallery in Denver to see the work. The show begins September 20 and runs through October 14. The opening reception is Friday, September 21 from 6-9pm. You’re invited! And if you can’t make it, I’ll be updating my website prior to the show opening so that you’ll be able to view the finished series there.

Sideview: ThroughLines collages lined up and ready to box for transport to gallery.

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Unrolling

This spring, at Denver’s Clyfford Still Museum, I got to see the unrolling of a number of Still’s works that had been in storage for years. Many bundles of paintings have been unopened since arriving at the museum. Packages are opened when the conservators are ready to begin working on them. A docent mentioned the opportunity and I’d signed up months in advance to be there, along with about 25 other curious people — plus a team of conservators, photographers and museum officials.

Signed: Clyfford 1953

When Still finished a painting, he would remove the canvas from the stretcher bars so that the bars could be re-used to begin work on another canvas. Galvanized chimney pipes (the only easily-sourced tube that was long enough) were used to roll multiple canvases together. The rolls were stored in a barn. The rolls were numbered and some have notes and thumbnail sketches of what might be inside. However, even the conservators were not absolutely sure what was inside all the rolls.

Here are some photos, taken in the conservation room at the museum… The paintings looked pretty amazing flat on the table so it will be especially exciting to see these re-stretched and hanging in the museum sometime in the future. I’ve also included a photo of some of the inventory sketches, done by Still’s wife, that the museum uses as reference. Charming as they are, it made me especially grateful for all the amazing tools we have these days to document, inventory and archive artwork!

Beginning the process

Galvanized stovepipes were used to roll the canvases

Unrolling, layer after layer of paintings

Dean Sobel, museum director, gives his initial reactions to the paintings

Huge canvases, layered and now awaiting conservation

One of my favorites… the energy in those brushstrokes!

Glimpses

The inventory notebook initially created by Still’s wife

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Un-Masked… unveiling a collage for The Mask Project

Last fall I was invited to create artwork to contribute to The Mask Project, an auction to benefit Denver Hospice. Once I agreed, I received my “canvas,” — a cold-looking, almost life-sized, white plaster mask.

Mask upon arrival at my studio.

Mask upon arrival at my studio.

The raw mask sat in the studio looking blankly at me for quite awhile before I had time to begin working on it. I’d wondered how well papers would adhere on the curved surfaces but my wet working process allowed them to flow with and adapt to the shape, attaching well. Granted, I was working with fairly thin papers and small pieces and I’m sure that helped. It was fun to work on a different kind of support and to respond to the facial features in my own whimsical way.

mask work in progress

Just beginning work on the mask… to almost finished.

The mask, “Foundling,” will be on display as part of an exhibit in the Kaiser Permanente Grand Court of Cherry Creek Shopping Center in Denver, Colorado from September 12 through October 25, 2016. A number of masks from celebrities and artists are available for viewing and auction. Online bidding on the masks begins September 12 — view (or perhaps bid on!) mine here. Bidding ends October 9.

My mask comes with an added premium item: a $150 Gift Certificate for Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, an amazing restaurant / bar / performance venue. Thanks, Ophelia’s!

Final mask for Denver Hospice’s The Mask Project, “Foundling,” by Janice McDonald.

Final mask for Denver Hospice’s The Mask Project, “Foundling,” 8.75 x 6.75 x 1.5″, collage by Janice McDonald.

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Unboxed… a stealth project (until now)

And now for something completely different…

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate to work on many commissioned collages, most with references to landscape, assembled on sturdy wooden supports. My last solo show, Paper Trails, reflected and continued that series. As I was working on those collages, I started to wonder what it would be like to work on more casual pieces with random edges, pushing collage beyond the boundaries of straight edged boards/supports.

So I’ve been quietly working on a new idea for about a year and a half now, first thinking and sketching, then exploring some trial pieces and musing about the possibilities, collecting materials and beginning to work on the new series in earnest. I was really unsure that it could be the basis for a show, but wanted to push in that direction.

It all started with boxes…

An avid recycler, I find myself carefully deconstructing and flattening the many boxes that flow through our household. I’m struck by the beauty and craft in these common materials. The packages have surprising perimeters, that are revealed once taken apart, and unexpected details in their construction. Each box comes with its own history of purpose, content, transport and consumption — ending as a void, an emptied container, just debris.

"Unboxed 003," 17 x 9" collage on granola bar box. © 2015, Janice McDonald.

“Unboxed 003,” 17 x 9″ collage on granola bar box. © 2015, Janice McDonald.

It seemed natural to try using the unfolded boxes as platforms for collage compositions. I like the idea that the salvaged papers are resting on, and relating to, a salvaged support.

I’ve enjoyed responding to the boxes’ varied shapes and scored fold lines with found / recycled papers. The hard edges of the diecut boxes contrast with the ripped paper elements. While the collages are non-objective works, some of the pieces have a whimsical, almost totemic feeling about them. I think it’s a function of the edges. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of impression they make collectively. That’s something I won’t know until they’re hung on the gallery walls.

Once I had a significant start on the series, I finally determined that the collages are strong enough to make a compelling show. “Unboxed” opens at Spark Gallery later this month! Perhaps you can join me at the opening reception on Friday, August 19 from 6-9pm.

Stealth because…

For a long time, as the collage works progressed, I was quite unsure of their merit and didn’t want to be influenced by feedback from others. And I was oddly possessive about divulging this concept! So I haven’t shown any of them, anywhere, except in a postage-stamp-size image on a gallery promo card. Especially not on Facebook or Instagram, where I have often posted work in progress. Only in recent months have I finally started to show a few samples and discuss them with close family and friends. Now that the series is established, I’m comfortable posting collages from the series here, on my website gallery, and social media. Stay tuned to see more from the Unboxed series as it unfolds, literally!

 

 

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Collages at Robert Anderson Gallery + Daily Mail Catalog

One of the collages in the exhibition, 17 MAY 2013, collage on watercolor paper, framed 12 x 9."

One of the collages in the exhibition, 17 MAY 2013. Collage on watercolor paper, framed 12 x 9.” ©2013, Janice McDonald.

Some of the collages from my Daily Mail series are included in an exhibition of the Denver Collage Club at the Robert Anderson Gallery through May 30, 2015. The show features the work of more than 20 collagists and was recently written about in L’Oeil, an online photography journal, as well as Kolaj magazine. The gallery is located at 2426 East Third Avenue, Denver, Colorado. Hours are 11am-6pm Thursdays through Saturdays.

I’ve recently (finally!) organized all 75 images from the original series into a catalog, now available for purchase online. Each collage is reproduced at almost full size… so for those of you who felt these pieces should never be separated from each other: an intact collection is now available!

The Daily Mail catalog in its native habitat, amongst the wild paper debris!

The Daily Mail catalog in its native habitat, amongst the studio debris.

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Denver International Airport Installation

Here to there collaborative art installation at Denver International Airport.

Partial view of the ‘here to there” collaborative art installation at Denver International Airport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denver International Airport ‘here to there” art installation in main terminal.

 

 

 

I’ve somehow neglected to post news about my artwork at Denver International Airport (DIA)! Several enlargements from recent travel-inspired collages are part of an ongoing exhibition in the Main Terminal. An associated DIA Art Gallery show has already ended.

You don’t need to go through security to see the artwork. The installation is located on the 5th level—in the passageway directly below each of the east/west bridges, behind the rental car counters. Ask one of the cowboy-hatted greeters if you can’t find it!

One of my contributions... “Mapped,” 18 x 24″ collage with acrylic on wood panel.

One of my contributions… “Mapped,” 18 x 24″ collage with acrylic on wood panel.

Details from three of my collages, all interpretations of travel, were enlarged and are included in the “here to there” installation along with those of fellow Expand artists Mary Williams, Ken Elliott, Carol Ann Waugh, and Victoria Eubanks. The panels were designed so that the elements from one image “travel” to visually connect with another — quite a collaboration.

Just making connections in Denver? You’ll need to leave the secured concourses and head to the main terminal to see the work… a fun diversion, near a brewpub, if you have the time!

The words that accompany the installation read:

here to there

we are wanderers
we leave trails as much as we take trails

foot steps through cities, woods, prairies
threads that tie us to these places and each other
fragments of vistas and color
bits and pieces — we collect and leave behind
corners and u-turns that bring us full circle
we amble, we soar, we connect

we are masters at getting
from here to there

It’s been a real thrill to see my artwork whenever I’m coming or going… or meeting up with friends/family who are! Check it out if you are traveling through Denver.

"Speed," by Janice McDonald, 18 x 24" collage with acrylic background on wood panel.

One of my here to there collages: “Speed,” 18 x 24″ collage with acrylic on wood panel.

 

 

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Botanicollage

About this time last year I was working on a series of nine collages with a botanical bent… and I’m really excited that they are now on view at the Loveland Museum Gallery as part of Xylem, a show of contemporary botanical artworks. The exhibition runs through March 15th in Loveland, Colorado. (Botanicollage has such a nice ring to it that I may have to continue the series!)

"Unfurl," by Janice McDonald

Unfurl,” 10 x 10″ collage, composed of salvaged and repurposed paper, on wood panel. © 2014, Janice McDonald.

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