MICHAEL ANDERSON: Chinese Cell Phone Mafia, 2005
Collage from street posters, 32 x 24 inches
{Courtesy Marlborough Gallery}
Curated with Savannah Spirit and Asya Geisberg

The Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education
928 Simpson Street, Between Barretto and 163rd Streets

May 21 - July 21, 2010
Michael Anderson, Melissa Barrett, Chris Bors, Lesly Canossi, Amelie Chunleau
Nancy Drew, Chris Fennell, Carla Gannis, Liam Hanna-Lloyd, Halsey Hathaway
Daniel Kayne, Scott Kiernan, Isolde Kille, Elissa Levy, D. Dominick Lombardi
 Hector Madera-Gonzalez, Leah Oates, Sarah Olson, Deborah Pohl, Alexander Reyna, Elizabeth Riley, Ron Rocheleau, Pam Saturday, Raven Schlossberg, Kaeko Shabana Jennifer Shepard, Mary Ann Strandell, thefactory101, Austin Thomas, Conrad Vogel, Michael Zansky

This exhibition explores the use of collage as an artistic medium, dissecting its impulses and agendas while providing a wide cross-spectrum of its usage in contemporary art. It addresses the role of material culture in mediating our shared view of reality, the notion of a borrowed aesthetic, and how specific visual agendas express differing cultural attitudes. It includes a variety of mediums and aesthetic agendas, presenting not only traditional collage, but works which establish a collage mentality in the liminal forms of photography, video, digital manipulation, painting, sculpture, printmaking, children’s books, commercial signage, portraiture, and others. In the end, it will posit collage as a cause, rather than a symptom, of both artistic style and generational meaning.

Collage has been a part of artistic practice since the advent of Cubism in 1907. It continued to be used in Dada and Surrealism, and became another way of looking at process that did not exist before the 20th century. It’s difficult to trace its usage in the vernacular of artistic practice, but Surrealism did last through the 1930’s, and then following the end of World War II, many important Surrealist artists did move to America, settling in or around New York. There they came into contact with artist of the emerging movement of Abstract Expressionism whose members, including Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, incorporated their ideas into painting. In the 1960’s there emerged a new movement called ‘Pop Art’ which took the concept of collage to new heights; and which in many ways inherited the use of the real from Surrealism.

Michael Anderson is a scavenger with cultural purpose, much like the Affichiste artist Jacques Villegl√©. Anderson spends his days finding street posters that he can sample so that he can build the images that he does. His “Chinese Cell Phone Mafia” describes the theme of social connectivity as determined by conspicuous consumption, and via historical and ethnic styles and landmarks, a transparency between the past and the present.

The word collages of Chris Bors likewise sample from popular culture, taking the stylized names of famous Hard Core Rock bands like Bad Religion, Gang Green, and The Exploited and massing them together to show us  how image is everything. 

Using the digital process of photo-shop, Carla Gannis creates loaded metaphorical scenarios in which social criticism becomes a new kind of reality. Her work “Electronic Graveyard” presents us with a scene out of the New York social fabric, a crowd of people sitting in Bryant Park to watch movies. Except that in her image, every citizen has been transformed into a head and shoulders portrait on a flat computer screen; they do not need to look at movies, for they have each become one. 

The photographic collages of Daniel Kayne were organized to reflect the layered and illusory elements of his recent trip to Iran, where a people rich with history are caged beneath a repressive regime that keeps traveling foreigners from witnessing the real city and people.

Isolde Kille’s collages utilize a totemic form, in which successive pages torn from volumes of Vogue magazine are pasted into vertical layers, alternating with mirrors that show the viewer reading them.

Alternately, the quiet optical arrangements of Halsey Hathaway seem passive to the point of decoration when, after training ourselves to look at them, we realize that all the images are culled from events of extreme violence. Beauty is invaded by the grotesque of human emotional excess.

These artists, and many others, present us with the continued cultural legacy of collage, which exposes he finite politic of art to the issues of the larger world while at the same it opens us to the possibilities for creative expression in an age that needs to keep its options open.


{Courtesy of Marlborough Gallery}


CHRIS BORS: Hardcore Still Lives! (2008)
Digital C-print on aluminum, 30 x 40 inches

: Extreme Associates (2005)



DANIEL KAYNE: Iran, Dialogue Thru a Lens

Photocollage on MDF, 44 x 60 inches

'Objects of desire' or how to jump over your own shadow when you no longer have one (2010), Glass, mirror, R-print, aluminum, wood, 8 x 76 inches each, 8 works