Canadian collage artist Paul Butler takes the experience of art off the wall and turns it into a full-on party. Literally.
A “traveling experimental group studio with a rotating cast”, Collage Party has roamed North America and Europe creating walk-in, full-room cut and paste installations.
Unlike your run of the mill house party, these all-nighters (if the beer bottles and artists sleeping on clipping-strewn tables are any indication) are no-holds-barred creativity jams. The results range from nailing teddy bears to the wall to multi-coloured floor to ceiling construction paper towers to mummifying one of the artists in scraps and taping him to a pillar… when you think about it, why not? Its like pre-school craft time without having a teacher telling you not to eat the paste. No material is off limits as long as you can cut it, draw on it and then stick it to something else.
Having referred to some of his own collages as “the visual equivalent of Prozac”, Butler’s individual works revolve around cutting, taping, pasting and combining found images and objects in way that completely alters their original meaning and creates a whole new visual message. Austere and seemingly simple (taping the words “Go Go Go” on a discarded plastic shopping bag bring up a certainly layered take on the state of consumer culture), it’s that apparent simplicity that makes the deeply meaningful messages within so delicious to uncover.
In just a few words he can dilute these consumerist images into a commentary on what’s really being sold to us – when he glues “Decisions, decisions, decisions” onto a picture of a forest glade the relevancy of what he’s saying becoming subtly and immediately clear.
Butler is also founder of The Other Gallery, a “web-based nomadic gallery” designed to promote up-and-coming Canadian artists.