This was my first time at The Artist Project and I was excited to see emerging artist as well as some established. Looking around I was impressed by some artists’ works who used the technique of collage. There were many artists being multi-disciplinary, applying more than one medium and that was what made their works so unique. In other words several artists caught my eyes with their exceptional use of layers in creating a narrative. From the ancient use of encaustic painting, mosaic, fibre paper and other versions of collage, aluminum and various other materials, I found the following artists’ approach of mixed medium interesting.
Anahita Azrahimi’s – an Iranian influenced, Toronto based visual and installation artist – collages are vivid and captivating. Using only graphics from Vogue magazines, she layers and blends them with her paintings to re-contextualize the final creation. At the end the pieces show an artistic negotiation between space, shape, texture and colour.
Laura Culic’s use of encaustic, mixed medium, and collage depicts layers of her creative journey. In her process she is reaching back into the past, so much like a process of excavation. Laura goes through many layers of her discovery such as elements of nature and the complicated procedure of encaustic painting.
Jangmee Park, originally from Seoul, works in Toronto with mixed medium involving acrylic and encaustic painting. She approaches the old binary concept of good and bad by using two distinct layers. They represent, for her, different situations, some good while others are bad but both in need of harmony and balance. She says, “life isn’t what you expect. One can think either ‘I have to do this’ or ‘I don’t have to do that’ – we both have situations like that, but at the end we can’t avoid what we have to do.” In the end, things are as they are and you have to find out what it means to you and this is procedure that Park tries picture.
Mary Karavos – originally a Toronto artist – after a year of studying in Florence, Italy, was inspired by the elements of mosaic. With a painter’s hand, through the medium of paper fibre, she explores the endless possibilities of what a mosaic-like image can reach. She starts with a motive and continues to build, layer upon layer, until an image emerges. Mary feels that this medium has allowed her to truly grow as an artist.
Victoria Cowan, a Studio Q artist, is originally a printmaker. She cuts up old prints and reuses them to create new pieces. Using aluminum as a background, she layers Japanese paper, magazine cutouts and prints in a bold way. She starts with a random text and builds the story of her works from there. For her, the final story is made by involving the viewer, as she said, “the art is made between the two of us.”
While the use of the objets trouvés, raw material in order to express the artist’s idea goes back in time, it was only in the 20th century that collage has become appreciated in its own right. The above artists – whether their works come from an organic beginning without a final product in mind or inspired by an idea – use their chosen medium well.
Text and photo: Salomeh Ahmadi