making sense of chaos

For the past 20 years I have collected National Geographic magazines, saving maps, articles images, and some times the entire publication. My studio was often a pile of yellow trimmed booklets. With an abundance of time in the studio over the past two years I took breaks from painting to sort through magazines. I found that older National Geographic magazines addressed current topics such as a 2005 issue about pandemics and their origin. Manipulating and organizing these snippets of paper gave me a sense of control and relief.

 

We all collectively reflected on the pandemic of 1918 and how people survived. I in turn reflected on the artists of the same time. The political madness of the First World War produced the Dada art movement. The 2020s feel like a similar madness where in there are so many concerning news topics it is hard to focus on one idea or point of view.

 

In 2020 and 2021 I had been working on a series of paintings based on photographs taken while touring North America. These paintings were slated for an exhibition at The Craig Gallery in April 2022. The photographs gravitated towards industry, infrastructure and decay. As the photos, paintings, and pieces from National Geographic floated around the studio they eventually found themselves together creating new meaning. I was trying to make sense of the chaos, trying to make sense of the madness and plethora of topics that overwhelm us.

 

On the heels of Dada, Surrealists adopted and adapted collaging and cut-and-paste technique. Much like their “automatic” approach to painting, these artists relied on the subconscious to produce one-of-a-kind assemblages made of photographs, illustrations, coloured paper, and paint. Working in a similar method I started with a series of photographs and thousands of magazine pieces, loosely combining images in an effort to organize the randomness into some kind of order. The results this series of collages combining road trip photographs and magazine clipping assembled together to create new meaning.

 

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