Like a mad chemist mixing potions, collage is a brand new elixir divined from ingredients we all know into a brand new kind of magic. I find that the art of collage can sometimes fall victim to the “my kid could do that” attitude of modern art; the assumption that piecing existing imagery together is somehow easier than creating something from scratch. The point that they’re missing, obviously, is that, like so many things, the amalgamation is a brand new creation that exists wholly unto itself. Particularly, I find myself inspired by the work of: Tierney Gearon, Greg Shegler, Paul Butler, and Christian Hückstädt. Today, happily, I can add Matt Wisniewski to the roster of collage awesomeness.
When well done, collage speaks not only to visual form but also makes us take notice of the idea of form that we can take for granted. If a body is replaced by flowers, how does that supposition affect the total context of the image? What is it about “beauty” that we find beautiful, and when these entities are visually combined do they enhance or withdraw from each other? Is it the insertion of the negative or the positive that we notice first? I love collage because it forces me to take notice of what’s been removed and what’s been added in a way that can be completely different from yours, and what that says about you and I as individuals is fascinating.
To me, Wisniewski’s collages focus on the human vs. the elemental and organic. His one series, named “My Home Is The Sea,” beautifully captures the essence of why I love them so much: human faces intertwined with the rolling ocean, with cliffs, with snow-beaten mountain sides. We are made of nature and he explores a literal collision of the end product – us – with the ingredients that formed us.
+ via beautiful/decay