I gotta tell ya. There's nothing I like better than to sink my eyes into some seriously edgy artwork. And if the edge stuff is collage work, it really stops me in my tracks.
Today I came across the work of Berni Stephanus, a collage artist of massive proportions. A plethora of mixed media work, including both painting and collage can be found on his site. Upon reading the comments on his website about collage I was ready to agree with his explanation:
"I call my works mutations or grafts because I want to realise impossible transplantations in a different way than the cubists, dadaists and surrealists. I focalize on the borders between the pieces in order to obtain a real graft. For me it's like my brain is working, trying to make sense out of all impressions, souvenirs, sensations ..."
What and excellent way to describe the process of collage. Grafting. It makes me think of the organic process of grafting in agriculture, making a branch grow where it didn't before.
"And the fact that the grafts are visible (instead of smoothening the picture) shows the fracture and in the same time the healing since the whole functions as a coherent picture."
I also feel this compulsion to savor the edges of collage work. Some of the most interesting things about collage revolve around the treatment of edges. Some artists go for a stark contrast between colors and textures. Others nurture the edges like a suture...and take special pains to create smooth transparent transitions.
One of the most fascinating things about Mr. Stephanus' work is his ability to create such a unique effect by combining painting with small bits of collage elements. His series, Massacres, is amazingly detailed, extremely emotional and graphic as literal hell. I love it.
Abraham, painting with collage,108x130cm, 2001
This man has done a lot of collage work. I am serious. There are over 1800 collage works on his site, and the number grows daily. I was very impressed at his deep exploration of his own new technique. Inspiring stuff.