Marybeth Heikes

Paintings in Watercolor & Mixed Media

My Collage Inspirations

November 16, 2011

My work in collage has been inspired by many artists.  Some of these are Matisse,  Romare Bearden,  Joan Miró,  Edward Betts and Gerald Brommer.

The definition of “collage” is a picture built up wholly or partly from pieces of paper, cloth or other materials stuck on canvas or other ground.  Collage as a medium emerged in France in 1912 with cubists Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.  These artists designed their pictures with shapes of paper — cut or torn and pasted as integral components of their artwork.  They used newspaper headlines for graphic impact and textures.  Picasso’s Still Life with Chair Caning in 1912 is often considered the first modern collage.  It is actually a construction of many  two- and three-dimensional elements.  In the same year, Braque incorporated wood-grained wallpaper into a series of charcoal drawings.  The French term  for collage was papier collé, meaning the art of pasting papers to a support.

Still Life with Chair Caning

Picasso's "Still Life with Chair Caning"

Fruitdish and Glass

"Fruitdish and Glass", papier collé and charcoal on paper, by Georges Braque

In the 1930s,  Matisse used  cut paper shapes as a preparatory work for commissioned pieces to be executed in other media.  Later he published a portfolio of twenty color plates of his cut-out designs,  which were cut with scissors.  His shapes were very simple.  In the early 1940s, the abstract expressionists, including Romare Bearden, used cut photo images to create powerful social commentary.

Jazz cover

Cover of "Jazz", Matisse's book of paper cutouts

The Calabash

"The Calabash", by Romare Bearden

Later, in the 1950s and 1960s, artists such as Robert Rauschenberg,  Jasper Johns, and Ellsworth Kelly explored collage, leading to assemblages and constructions of  experimental works.

Robert Rauschenberg collage

Untitled collage, by Robert Rauschenberg

Today, contemporary artists use new materials such as polymer emulsions and  acrylic gels, and new technical processes such as photography, printing, and computer-generated images.  Collage artists gather and store every kind of paper and other materials for their works.  The sky’s the limit, and there are no rules regarding media.  It is a dynamic and stimulating process that leads to fascinating artworks with explorations of surface manipulation.

Most of my collages are created by cutting my hand-painted acrylic papers with an X-Acto knife or tearing them.  The colors are variegated  and saturated with pigmentation.  My design is first articulated in a loosely-drawn contour sketch.  I have used other materials such as maps, beads, wire, feathers, rice papers and even my old paintings.

New barn collage in progress

One of my barn collages, in progress.

Posted in Stunning Still Lifes, Midwest Life, Whimsical Wildlife on November 16, 2011.

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