PIECES The Art of Collage with Marc Patterson
Why do I prefer collage?
It’s not a matter of preference. I still draw and paint. Most of my experience with collage developed as I grew as an art teacher. The classroom studio environment allowed me to explore materials and techniques which led to me to push the limits of collage as it relates to a variety of ways to create effects on the surface of paper through paints, various applications and techniques, many of which found their way into my own work. I enjoy collage for several reasons. One is the tactile part of the process. I love texture and anything applied to the surface adds to the tactile feel of a piece. Collage helps to create a “painterly” quality in that the scraps that I use in artwork exhibit soiling, abrasions, crumpling or other traces of use thereby presenting a surface that has irregularly evolved, is muted and full of nuances. I am a collector of collage materials over many years, scraps of paper that have caught my eye, many of which have a certain aesthetic all their own, i.e., how the colors lay, the implied textures of the printed page, the subtlety of colors and patterns. Moreover, there is something beautiful in using castaway pieces and re-purposing them in an artwork. Another element that intrigues me is the notion of juxtaposition, hearkening back to the inventors of collage at the turn of the twentieth century, putting diverse elements together in a composition, such as a piece of patterned wall paper, with a newspaper font.
Over the years I have also enjoyed the intimacy that collage provides, inviting the viewer to draw closer, stay longer in the artwork. The process of building up layers becomes a powerful metaphor in my work. I enjoy the illusion of collage, the printed pieces and scraps of paper that imply texture and three dimensional space. And lastly, the simplicity of collage is very appealing.
My interest in art history informs what I do with collage. I have been a long admirer of the pointillist movement that sprung out of Impressionism. The collage technique causes the eye to mix colors much like the pointillists utilize the dabs of paint, a process called optimal color mixing. When I got serious about collage, it was through cubism while in college, and this exposure has intensified over the years. I owe a debt of gratitude to Picasso and Braque as the inventors of papier colle (collage).