collages feed my soul

Apr 26 2015

search inboxes4SelfFor  more than seven weeks now I have had the great satisfaction of seeing twenty eight of my collages  hung in one place, the Stairwell Art Gallery at the Unitarian Church of Montreal, where I work part time.  I go up and down that stairwell many times a week, and am repeatedly delighted to see the range and variety of these carefully crafted collages on those walls — arranged in a way that is like a patchwork quilt, almost a collage, in itself!  The collages I have assembled for this solo show are all related to the idea of the “Search for Self” or a sense of inner wholeness and direction.

The one shown here is titled “Searching in Boxes for the Self” and was the college that spurred my initial thinking about a theme for my exhibit, because it literally shows several figures peering through binoculars out of what look like wooden boxes.  I added other wooden elements –some visual planks and temple carvings that create interesting depth of field.  To me, the total effect is one of people being too tightly contained, and of looking for a way out…or in!

Although I was first and still am a poet who loves to play with words, in recent years I have come to love playfully working with images like these  and with what seem like my inner leadings (and very explicitly NOT with words).  For my collages, I gather materials and settle into a period of intuitive, healing arranging:  colours, shapes, lines, and visual images are often accompanied by quiet, meditative music. These times are deeply restorative, and I emerge, sometimes hours later, feeling profoundly refreshed.

When I was contemplating the volume of collages I have completed, I realized that. since taking an initial course called “Tending the Soul with Collage” at Friends General Conference Gathering in 2006, I had been steadily creating new work. When I completed the weeklong course, I was so hooked I immediately began sharing the processes I had begun to learn with other interested people, and soon started a collage-making group at the First UU Church of Columbus, Ohio, where I then worked.  Once I moved to my current position in Montreal, I led some introductory sessions that resulted in a mailing list and a loose group of collage-ers who gather to work and talk a little bit about our creations, approximately once a month during the colder months.  Back in February I counted up at least thirty out of some 130 finished collages that would cluster around my self-proposed theme.

green man collage

Then I debated my choices, and moved them around, clustering some together, putting some aside, finding new frames for some, cleaning up others. Finally the show was hung in the Gallery in early March, with a vernissage on the 6th.  Now it is the end of April, and I have sold ten of the 28 displayed, but will shortly pack the remainder away, ready for moving back to Ottawa when I retire in June.  I will miss their visual companionship at work, but am already looking forward to a new place and more time to create more, once I re-settle in Ottawa –and perhaps to further exhibits!  In the meantime, you can see several more images on the visuals page of this website; the one here is “Variations on the Green Man;” the one below is called “Tree People Searching.”

tree people











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