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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.

Collage commentary: Eric Fischl

fischlbookI’m in the midst of reading artist Eric Fischl‘s autobiography, Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas — about the vagaries of the art market and his career trajectory. Whether you appreciate his work or not, the story is well-told and pretty fascinating. He writes about art and process in a way that is refreshingly approachable. I really liked his comments on collage, excerpted from the hardback edition, page 214-215…

“Early on in my life I wanted to embrace the margins, but as I grew up I came to realize that so much of my life has been a search for normal. I have consciously tried to make work that took fragments and pieced them back together—impressions and bits of memory collaged into foreign lands or suburban settings, all with the purpose of making them appear seamless. I was reliving my experiences as I was painting them, always at the point just before things fall apart.

Collage is the most important innovation in art since perspective was discovered in the fourteenth century. It’s one of the defining techniques of modernism, especially for the surrealists. Perspective is a mathematical construct that creates the illusion of deep space. It enabled painters to move art away from the religious icon and into the realm of realism. Perspective imitated how we see. Collage, on the other hand, is an artificial construct that imitates how the mind works. It breaks down the world of images into fragments of memory torn from their original context. It’s ahistorical, which is why avant-garde artists embraced it. My colleagues eagerly employed the collage technique and made it central to their art. They experimented with how far apart—at what distance both physically and intellectually—you could place two disparate images on a canvas and still create a formal composition that had dynamic tension, even if the juxtaposed images were essentially arbitrary.

I was uncomfortable with fragmentation and meaninglessness even though I appreciated it in other artists’ work. I needed the world around me to make sense, though not in a stultifying or overdetermined way. Rather, I felt an obligation to give my audience the impression of a coherent moment that was emotionally charged and fragile, but still holding together long enough so viewers could reflect on what it meant. Except in the case of the multi panel paintings, I did not want to make my audience put something back together in order to understand what it means.”

I never tire of working with fragmentation in my own artistic practice… Ripping remains my favorite artistic gesture. Salvaging, editing, and re-ordering fragments to create new imagery, relationships and meaning continues to engage my curiosity day in and day out. I believe I compose with fragments to create some level of coherence that reveals itself to the viewer over time, perhaps not immediately… interesting to think about artistic motivations.

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Action over time: collage in progress

During work on a recent composed landscape collage, I documented the progress with my iPhone. The images are now formatted as a video for your viewing pleasure. Next time I’ll use a tripod but truly there was no room to set one up in my studio!

Evaluating the collage from as much distance as I can get.

Evaluating the collage from as much distance as I can get.

I often had to walk into the next room to get as much distance as I could to evaluate the collage, knowing that it would ultimately be viewed both from long distances and up close. It’s very rare for me to work on a piece from the top down (roughly) but I’m generally not working from a sketch either. In this case, it just seemed to develop that way. The final collage, titled “Colorado,” is 60 x 40″ and is installed in the offices of the Adolph Coors Foundation in Denver, Colorado.

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Image & Word: Art and Poetry in Conversation

Leftovers

Leftovers

This summer I was invited to make an artwork based on a poem, then a poet used my collage as inspiration of a new poem, and so it went: eight artists, eight poets. Artists and poets worked in anonymity, so the unveiling will be a surprise for everyone involved, including: Chuck Ceraso, Susan Allspaw Pomeroy, Jimmy Sellars, Maria Melendez Kelson, Priscilla Fowler, Lisa Zimmerman, Jennifer Parisi, Bill Tremblay, Linda Armantrout, Aaron Anstett, Gayle Crites, Joseph Hutchison, Jared Smith, Monika Edgar, Kathleen Cain and myself.

You’re invited to attend the unveiling of the works at “Image and Word: Art and Poetry in Conversation” on August 16th at 7pm at the Louisville Center for the Arts in Louisville, Colorado. Tickets are $12 and seating is limited so reserve your seat in advance here.  I’d, of course, love to see you there!

Since I’m not allowed to show my collage, I’m showing you the debris field of leftover papers behind and around my easel! Anything could’ve happened…

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Foundlings find home at Lowry Family Health Center

Foundling collages

Foundling collages installed as a group at the new Lowry Family Health Center in Denver, Colorado.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the course of my more abstract work, I sometimes find images/shapes that remind me of facial features. I throw those ripped papers into a pile and then, every once in a while, I’ll turn to that collection and see what I can make from it. And that’s how the “Foundling” series was born…

Now some of my Foundling collages have been installed at Denver Health’s new Lowry Family Health Center. They’ve “adopted” 32 Foundlings in all.

Each collage is 7 x 5″ and is composed of contemporary found and repurposed papers. For this installation, the back of each collage has a spacer block so that the artwork appears to float off the wall a little, yielding nice shadow patterns.

Hope this whimsical collection will bring a smile to many faces in the waiting room! Many thanks to Nancy Noyes of Noyes Art Designs for championing my work for this space.

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Need one, want one? Get one!

"Poundling 5," original collage by Janice McDonald

“Poundling 5,” by Janice McDonald. 7″ x 5,” collage on wood panel.
© 2014, Janice McDonald.

I’ve been evaluating ways to offer some of my small collages for sale online and have decided to begin simply… featuring them here on the blog with background information and a PayPal purchase option.

I am one of those people who can see faces in most everything: clouds, the woodgrain of doors, plumbing fixtures, you name it! So when I come across a piece of paper that reminds me of an eye, or has the shape of a head… I throw it in a pile on my desk.

Eventually, I work with the ripped paper elements to create characters, a series I’ve titled Foundlings. Recently I’ve made some whimsical creatures, which I’ve called Poundlings — since they seriously need to be adopted by just the right person. Look carefully and you’ll see that the nose of this guy is made from an upside-down photo of the back of a high-heeled shoe. (I can’t help myself!)

Anyway, if you would like to add this collage to your art collection, just click the button below. If you should have any problems or require overseas or expedited shipping, please get in touch.

This collaged creature is composed with fragments of contemporary, re-purposed papers on a 7″ x 5″ x 1/8″ hardboard panel. The background is tinted with acrylic paint. Edges are painted and/or covered by paper so the piece can be left unframed if desired. The collage is coated with a UV-resistant varnish.

$125.00





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Behind the scenes preparations

Getting ready to work on a big, new composed landscape collage for a commission. Besides figuring out a whole new way to support this very large surface while I work (another blog post in itself!), I’ve been gesso-ing a 60 x 40 x 2″ wood panel, painting edges black, and contemplating the composition to come.

photo 1

photo 2photo 4

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Stop by: opening celebrations

bakersdozenI’m excited to announce that my work has been juried into two exciting shows in Denver, both with opening receptions this Friday, May 2nd. I’ll be spending time at both… just not sure where I’ll be when!

One of my Daily Mail collages will be on view at RedLine’s First Annual Juried Show, “Intersections.” The opening reception is Friday, May 2nd from 6-10pm at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street, Denver, Colorado. If you’re not familiar with RedLine, it’s a great space with a whole crew of artist residents at work adjacent to the main gallery space and lots of community arts-related programming. Definitely worth an exploratory visit! The show runs through May 16th. Jurors were Carlos Frésquez, Michael Paglia, and Collin Parson.

Another collage will be part of Mai Wyn Fine Art‘s First Annual Juried Show, “A Baker’s Dozen.” Thirteen artists were selected for the show and the “best of show” artist will be awarded a solo show in 2015. (I would love it to be me!) The juror was Michael Chavez, manager of Denver’s public art program. The opening reception is Friday, May 2nd from 5-9pm at 744 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, Colorado.The show runs through June 14th; gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12-6pm.

Hope you will come out and look at artwork this First Friday… and that I’ll bump into you at one exhibition or another!

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Ongoing saga of the Daily Mail collages

April 1 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

April 1 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

I’ve been posting the Daily Mail collages on my Facebook art page in a one-year-later, day-by-day manner and want to put them here too. However, I’ve fallen way behind! Where has April gone?!

I’d, of course, love for you to like my Facebook page if you are in the mood. Then my art posts would show up on your Facebook feed from time to time. Click here to take a look.

April 2 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

April 2 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

 

April 3 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

April 3 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 04 2013

April 4 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 06 2013

April 6 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 08 2013

April 8 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 09 2013

April 9 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 11 2013

April 11 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 12 2013

April 12 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 13 2013

April 13 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 15 2013

April 15 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 16 2013

April 16 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 17 2013

April 17 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 18 2013

April 18 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 19 2013

April 19 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 20 2013

April 20 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 22 2013

April 22 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 23 2013

April 23 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 24 2013

April 24 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 25 2013

April 25 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 26 2013

April 26 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 27 2013

April 27 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 29 2013

April 29 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

APRIL 30 2013

April 30 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

 

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Spring sprouting green

View of my work surface with collage in progress.

View of my work surface with collage in progress.

I’ve been working on a series of collages for a 2015 exhibition where my work will be included with that of a group of contemporary botanical artists. My work surface is predominantly green these days, very spring-y!

 

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More from the Daily Mail collage series

Another week’s worth of collages from my Overlooked Artifacts exhibition, made from mail received one year ago this past week. Each is an original collage on paper, 7.5 x 5.5,” framed in black metal frame 12 x 9,” with UV resistant glass and archival mat. ©2013.

March 25 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

March 25 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

March 26 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

March 26 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

March 27 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

March 27 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

 

March 28 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

March 28 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

 

March 29 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

March 29 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

 

March 30 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

March 30 2013, original collage by Janice McDonald.

 

 

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