There is always a large collection of painted collage paper in my studio. Studies on color, mark making, texture and shape.
“For a painter as abstract as myself, the collages offer a way of incorporating bits of the everyday world into pictures.” - Robert Motherwell
From past insignificant events to vibrant abstract art
I have been fascinated with collage for as long as I can remember. As I child I loved the plastic pages in the human body section of the Encyclopedia Britannica. I would flip them back and forth, thinking how interesting it was to be able to see the printed words and pictures through the plastic layers. Growing up we lived in the US and my mother would correspond with her family in Norway using super thin paper with the words "par avion" printed on them. These letters seemed so precious to me, the fragile paper quality made the letters seem more precious some how. Then in the early 90's I was working at a book store and fell completely in love with a series of books called Griffin and Sabine by artist Nick Bantock. He combined illustration together with old paper, postcards and letters. This combination gave the books a profound sense of mystery and depth.
I am lucky enough to have inherited a wonderful collection of old papers, postcards and books. Taking the time to go through everything, I found an account of so many significant and insignificant events in the lives of my family. Aunt Janne (my grandmother's aunt) collected postcards, some dating back as far as the early 1800's. My grandfather kept every piece of paper from the house construction project in the 1950's. My mother kept all letters and cards so was every given. Sorting through them I learned more about the sadness she carried with her from living so far away from her family. Bits of these papers almost always find their way into my work.
Collage is a way to combine the whispers of the past, the bits of every day life, together with a modern aesthetic. Placing something that has a life of it's own into a modern setting. What is produced is work that draws the viewer in, encourages them to ask questions and think about what came before. It also rearranges things, it takes old letters, newspapers - items that has a set purpose and gives them new life in a less constructed, expected way - pushing the boundaries of what we are used to.