In February, Elizabeth Leach Gallery presents Assemblage and Collage, a group exhibition featuring artists who create work through layered materiality and unexpected juxtapositions. Collage has remained a touchstone of expression throughout art history and is particularly resonant during times of social unrest and chaos. The artists included in the exhibition experiment, innovate and transform existing materials to create something new and unanticipated.
The artists in the show range from internationally renowned artists, Ann Hamilton and Vik Muniz, to emerging artist Charlie Perez-Tlatenchi, a recent Reed College graduate to work from the estate of New York artist, John Evans. Well-known regional artists include Lee Kelly, Melody Owen, Pat Boas and Michelle Ross, with new work by Seattle artist Claire Cowie. Cincinnati artists Jimmy Baker and Michael Scheurer make unique contributions to the show with Kara Marie, Brion Nuda Rosch and Myrna Tatar sharing their vibrant and complex work from San Francisco. Northwest artist, Eunice Parsons, has been making collaged work her entire life and at 101 years of age is the senior artist in the show.
Highlights include intricately sewn “paperquilts” by Seattle artist, Claire Cowie, which incorporate her past screen prints, woodblocks, etchings, linoleum cuts, drypoints, and monotypes, as well as digital photography, drawing, painting and found media. Cowie’s new series incorporates storytelling and pays homage to the quiltmakers of North Carolina, whose creativity and resourcefulness inspired her throughout her youth. Cowie’s latest creations are engaging and poignant; symbolically and literally weaving history into three-dimensional paper sculptures.
Internationally recognized artist Vik Muniz is best known for his reconstructed photographs that incorporate a wide variety of unusual materials including chocolate, sugar, junk and toys. In his illusionistic, abstract new work Handmade: Tears (horizontal), 2017, Muniz creates a layered, brightly colorful horizon from torn photographic paper. Muniz synthesizes playful expressiveness with the restraint of carefully torn subtle white edges, calling attention to the materiality while simultaneously igniting the viewer’s imagination.
Jimmy Baker’s highly complex layering process obscures the boundaries between painting and photography. His work infuses elements of abstraction and realism through his combinations of digital prints with painting on panel. Michael Scheurer is a connoisseur of ancient and modern decorative art objects and akin to Brion Nuda Rosch, relies on vast stockpiles of raw collected materials like scientific illustrations, maps, vintage cinema posters, book pages and illustrations and fabrics to create highly evocative collages. Scheurer has developed a unique aesthetic of balancing these materials into sumptuously rich collages with layers of emotionally charged content. Nuda Rosch takes another approach by presenting ironic views of history, juxtaposing antiquated and contemporary elements.
Several artists include text in their works, with Ann Hamilton incorporating materials from three major projects, including her mesmerizing Guggenheim installation entitled human carriage, which featured poetically entangled word fragments and pieces of fabric. Pacific Northwest artists Melody Owen and 2017 Hallie Ford Fellowship recipient Pat Boas reconfigure text in their artworks while Michelle Ross assembles vibrant scraps of materials into her paintings. Myrna Tatar, a self-taught artist, incorporates everyday objects into her unique constructions. Assemblage and Collage brings together internationally renowned and regional artists to highlight the brilliant possibilities, reconfigurations and reinventions of their image-making process.