My Collage Heroes

I thought I should introduce myself. Hello, I'm Daniel and I volunteered to to become a blog contributor here at The Collage Clearinghouse. I thought I'd start by listing my three biggest collage heroes of all time. (I would say 'influences' but I feel influenced by all the art I see everyday, and so 'hero' sounds more appropriate.)

Number one for me would have to be San Francisco painter/collage artist, Jess Collins(1923-2004). I am always blown away by Jess' densely packed, rich, inventive collages; you can just get lost in them. His process was also fascinating, working in several different modes he called past-ups, translations, necro-facts, and salvages. Some of his pieces where he layers puzzles in and out are absolutely jaw dropping.

I've seen some great monographs of Jess' work. Here's two on amazon.com:
Jess: To and From the Printed Page
Jess, a Grand Collage, 1951-1993
and here's a couple online articles. hackettfreedman.com sfgate.com

Next for me is Dada artist Hannah Höch (1889-1978). I really love what she did with the human form, and the deceptively simple feel of her pieces. Her work is full of political and social commentary, new forms of beauty and feminism. There's something about her collages that feel free and airy and at the same time important and powerful.

Some books on Hannah Höch on amazon:
Cut with the Kitchen Knife: The Weimar Photomontages of Hannah Hoch

The Photomontages of Hannah Hoch

Next, I would say for me is New York collage/assemblage artist, Joseph Cornell (1903–1972). I love his whimsy and curiosity. He seemed to be enamored by certain subjects and explored them with a fantastic fascination. His work is so playful and beautiful, colorful and nostalgic. To me his work is less about transforming an image or juxtaposing ideas but about concentrating on an idea celebrating it.

Books on Cornell on amazon.com:
Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination
Joseph Cornell: Master of Dreams

I know these aren't exactly unknown names in art history but they've definitely shaped my love of the medium of collage so I thought I'd share my appreciation. There's many other artists I could put in this same category, but these three come up so often for me when thinking about art and collage they top the list.
Feel free to leave comments on your thoughts on these three artists or about your own collage heroes.


Laura said...

Thank you Daniel for jumping in and sharing your hero's, Joesph is one of my personal favorites long with Rauschenber. And now you have opened the door even wider. What do you say about the different styles of collage out there. The time period of Dadaism and the artist now on the scene like our Donna Watson? http://www.donnawatsonstudios.com/
not to compare artist but is seems that there our the different styles out there which is good, I think?


Jess is great. Tricky Cad!

julie said...

Cornell is a fave of mine. I see his works and I marvel at the simple beauty. Makes me want to play with colored sands.

clochart said...

hi, I suggest you to read of Georges Simic "dime-store alchemy, the art of joseph cornell" a small book explaining how life and art lead joseph cornell to that dreamy perception of daily debris. And what about Nicolàs de Lekuona??? his collagist life whas short as his life indeed... but strong collage.... he was only 24 when he died in the early 30s, his work had a great aesthetic tendency. www.nicolasdelekuona.org

christa aachen said...

I am a latecomer to this site and being an afficionado of the medium, I'm glad to be here at last. I do find that a lot of contemporary collage lacks the authority and gravitas of Hoch and Cornell. Schwitters and Rauchenberg also point up the potential of collage imagery. Laura mentioned Donna Watson and I was delighted to be directed to her work. Here is an artist who is in control of her medium; and not dictated by the easy lure of discordant juxtapositions which collage so easily throws up.

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