By its nature, the creation of art is the construction of culture. In paintings, sculptures, and illustration, artists build ideas about the world around them. Photographers, through framing and composition, tell stories about the world that inform our thinking of it. Collage is unique as a medium in that it uses as its material artifacts from the world itself. To harvest those fragments, the artist must first deconstruct culture; they must select, cut, and remove the elements they do not wish to use and then reconstruct work that tells a new story.
The exhibition features collage artists who are deconstructing identity as a way to critique culture. Artists are investigating the interactions between men and women in dating apps; the construction of black masculinity in barbershops; or how toxic masculinity plays out in queer space. They are reaching into history and taking inspiration from Irish literature, Etruscan maps and the imperial workshops of the Mughal Empire. They are using digital technology and traditional methods of cut and paste to make work that mimics our paraprosexic modern life or work that illustrates how memory and nostalgia impact our sense of geography. They are altering books into hyper-illuminated texts and making visual narratives that seek to reform the world using reconstituted images.
In this sense, the artwork on view is not only using deconstructed culture, it is breaking down culture in a manner that offers the viewer an opportunity to breakdown their own understanding of the world and build up a new one.
Artists on view are: John Alleyne, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jay Berrones, Mexico City, Mexico; Teresa Cribelli, Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Hana Kark, La Canada Flintridge, California; Heather Ryan Kelley, Lake Charles, Louisiana; William Davies King, Santa Barbara, California; Takako Konishi, Chicago, Illinois; Norah F. Lovell, New Orleans, Louisiana; Miguel Ontiveros, Cicero, Illinois; Ian Park, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Chuck Scalin, Richmond, Virginia; Dafna Steinberg, Washington, DC
"Cultural Deconstructions: Critical Issues in Collage" was the primary exhibition of the second Kolaj Fest New Orleans, a multi-day festival and symposium about contemporary collage and its role in art, culture, and society that took place on July 10-14, 2019. The exhibition took place at LeMieux Galleries in New Orleans, Louisiana, July 10-27, 2019. This catalog contains images of artwork, the exhibition, and commentary. Like the exhibition, it is meant as a tool for deeper curatorial inquiry.
Details: 38 pages | 10″x8″ | saddle-stitched | 2019 | ISBN 978-1-927587-28-7