If you’re lucky enough to have a teacher with artistic inclinations or a parent who wants to keep you from watching TV or surfing the Internet, you probably created a collage when you were younger.
Whatever your memories and whatever the definition of collage is, “BOP! Adventures in Collage” at Dime Gallery.
The formal, albeit limited, definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary will tell you that a collage is “an artistic composition made of various materials (such as paper, fabric, or wood) adhered to a surface.”
There are 27 artists represented on “BOP!”. an impressive panorama of style and content, with more than three dozen works.
The show is curated by two of these artists. Tony FitzpatrickThe first “BOP!” Exhibition titled “Adventures in American Collage” at the Satchel Projects gallery in New York City last summer.
“The plan was always to have one show here and after that we plan to have another show in Savannah (Georgia) with maybe 20 artists,” Fitzpatrick says. “But when we open at the Met in New York as planned for next year, we’ll have even more.”
Delegating the curatorial duties of the Chicago exhibition to two young female artists, Paloma Trecka and Ray Borchers, she said, “These two are not only great artists, but they also know contemporary collage better than I do, and that’s why they’ve managed to bring so many artists together.” New artists to the gallery to expand my collage world.”
So I asked each of the women, “What’s a collage?” I asked.
“You have to use whatever you have.
Borchers says, “A collage like Frankenstein is a collection of pieces, each with its own connotation. I can paint anything and rely on this process as a basis on which all elements interact, hide, reveal and distort. The act of cutting is a violent and sudden movement.
“I’ve also heard from other artists that collage is a direct form of processing an experience by manipulating and layering materials. Like a sketch, ideas can quickly transform into a new form.”
Like Fitzpatrick, they each have collages on their Dime wall. Trecka often works with collages, but that’s only part of her art, and that’s true for most artists. One of the artists is a muralist, the other is primarily a poet, one is a first responder, a sculptor and a couple of musicians. Also playing in a band, Borchers is a multidisciplinary artist who uses his collages as the initial inspiration for his large portraits.
“These are tools,” he says, adding that he worked with the late great photographer Marc Hauser for many years.
You will find all the works on the dime walls interesting, most beautiful, most thought provoking. There is some curiosity and some sadness when looking at Nick Bubash’s 3D marvel “Bud Vase”. The sculptor, visual artist and tattoo artist died in late 2021.
Although it seemed like an artistic tool for centuries, collage did not become an important part of the visual art scene until the early 1900s.
At that time, a few friends, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, started making collages. In short, it all started in 1912 when Braque walked past a wallpaper store and bought woodgrain wallpaper. In his studio, he began cutting wallpaper and pasting rectangular patches on some of his large pencil drawings. This combination, he said, “given a great shock to him, and it was an even greater shock to Picasso when I showed it to him.”
The two artists began to explore this new form energetically. Braque called the first “Fruit Plate and Cup,” and the prolific Picasso quickly created more than 100.
They called what they were making collage, from the French verb “coller” meaning “to paste” or “to paste”.
Other artists followed in their footsteps, including the famous Juan Gris, Man Ray, Henri Matisse, and David Hockney. “BOP!” He might reach that lofty rank one day, but no one I spoke to was worried about such acceptance.
“Each collage represents a different type of person, a reflection of how that person chooses to collaborate with the world around them,” Trecka says.
Around the tables at Dime, you’ll find lavishly arranged catalogs where each artist provides some biographical information and tries to express their artistic views.
You will read various things like…
“I cut and paste them.”
“I dived into the world of collage to shine a light on the complex and often misunderstood subject of mental health.”
“Art slows the world down for me.”
“For a long time, cutting and pasting was a means to an end, but a few years ago I started experimenting with collage as an independent art form.”
“I sculpt because it’s time to sculpt.”
“I love cutting, folding and gluing paper.”
“I like to find ordinary beauty.”
The special beauties of “BOP!”, a word borrowed from jazz, will remain in Dime until September. If you’re lucky, you might run into one of the artists.
If not, don’t worry, their work will satisfy you completely.
“BOP! Adventures in Collage” at Dime Gallery at 1513 N. Western Ave until September 3; free, bopartshow.com