contemporary collage paintings
the process
Leslie Avon Miller

My life flows when I'm in my art.

Jean De Muzio

Friday, September 9, 2011

to scratch, scribble, draw, write

Just Emerged
~Leslie Avon Miller
10x10 mixed media collage on paper

Physical Graffiti

It has been my pleasure to work with Pam Farrell over the past months as she brought together a show opening on 9.10.11 at James Oliver Gallery. The show is focused on 
collage and mixed media on paper. I am honored to have my work included.


"I became interested in collage way back in my undergrad days 
(I have a BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers) 
while studying with Geoff Hendricks, a noted Fluxus artist, and after seeing Kurt Schwitters' work in museums.  
I decided I should put a show together of the work by artists 
who  speak the language  fluently." 
~Pam Farrell

Following is a conversation Pam and I had regarding her experience of curating the show.  Interspersed are images from artists participating in the show. 
 Putting together this show sounds similar to putting together collage – gather, consider, choose, arrange, reconsider, rearrange – there it is – the sweet spot!

When you first conceived of this show on paper, what was your objective? What did you hope to say about contemporary collage on paper?

Pam: At the moment, I feel that collage is especially present out there, and along with mm/paper, rarely gets the spotlight. My interest was piqued (or should I say re-piqued) when I participated in the Book About Death show at Emily Harvey Foundation a few years ago, and became familiar with the work of Cecil Touchon and Matthew Rose, as well as many others who contributed to the exhibit. I guess the idea for the show has been gestating since then. 

Recently, Picasso's Guitars were up at the Met, and I heard the curator speaking recently about the shock (1914?) of his use of objects in the paintings and how collage is really truly a modern art form. In terms of mm/paper, one of my heroes is Cy Twombly...the mystery, the inter-play with occult and revelation....

 (B)ramble On
48 x 60
oil on canvas 2010
Pam Farrell
What was your process of selection? Did anything about your process surprise you?

Pam: I’d been “collecting” artists in my head.... When I pitched the idea to James at James Oliver Gallery, the husband and wife team of spencer + imler were at the top of our list.

Once I started really looking around, I was a bit overwhelmed by the breadth of work on paper that I found online...the range of styles and materials. My first surprise was that this was not going to be as easy as I thought. A good challenge, to be sure. I started by making a list of artists whose work I’d seen, then started to look around online. I made a huge list—far more artists than I could possibly include—and started to contact a few at a time. When I found your blog, I felt that I’d found the motherlode!

Though this project was not meant to be historical in nature, nor to be truly representative of the media, I did want to show a range of process, techniques, and styles.

 Nee Nej

 Two Figures

What role do you see the sculpture playing in this setting?

Pam: When we discussed the show, James generously gave me free reign over the whole creative process of selection of work—a wonderful show of faith on his part for my nascent curatorial skills. The only request he had was that he would like to somehow include sculpture in the show.  I’d met David Meyer the summer before when we both showed work at LG Tripp in a group show and was immediately intrigued with his work. He employs a range of materials—from flour to books—and sometimes includes text. I found that much of his work has a sense of immediacy to it that I thought would relate in spirit to the works on paper. Susan Maguire, David’s wife, had some small 3-D pieces that encapsulate image and object in a way that I thought might serve as a bridge from the 2-D works on paper.

Eternal Egypt Series

mixed media on folded paper
8.5 x 9.75"

How do you see the works selected for this show complementing one another and coalescing into an interesting collection?

Pam: I think this is where the intuitive process comes into play. 
The idea of creating a cohesive exhibit was foremost in my mind from the start,
and I did make some selections based on size and presentation. 
But until the show is hung, 
I guess it all remains to be seen:
the viewer completes the experience.

 Air Into Breath

Susan Maguire

Crazy Compass Rose

How has your experience been different than your vision of what 
your experience would be?

Pam: I’m not sure I had any real sense of what the experience would be...
but aside from the unavailability 
of a couple of artists whose work 
I very much wanted to include, 
the process has been very smooth.

Ageless Lines

Pam, what are your plans and hopes for the final presentation in the gallery setting?

Pam: For all the work to be hung straight and level! 
That there be a flow to the exhibit, that it make “sense” to the viewer. That we’ve managed to show each artists’ work 
in the best light. That there be a relationship from one work to the next 
that evokes new thoughts and ideas, 
inspiration, a sense of discovery for the viewer. 
That the space can accommodate the amount of work that I have selected. 
And these are all the things that swirl around in my head 
when I’m trying to fall asleep.

even chance 7

How did the show title evolve and how does that “name” this collection in your opinion?

Pam: Admittedly, I’ve taken a bit of liberty with the title. 
Appearing to me in a flash—I was immersed in painting at the time, 
listening to music, (and I have no idea what was playing at the time) 
“Physical Graffiti“ just seemed right. 
Some will recognize this as the title of the fabled fifth Led Zeppelin album, 
but really there’s no direct connection to the band or its music. 
The words have a bit of a “pop” and familiarity. 
The idea of graffiti in its etymology (to scratch, scribble, draw, write) 
suggested to me a relationship to the broad range of approaches 
to mark making I was seeing in the work.


Other artists in the show include

Congratulations to all the artists in the show, 
to Pam for putting a cohesive and 
  intriguing show together 
and to the folks 
at James Oliver Gallery 
for providing this opportunity.


  1. Some of the images presented in this post are in the Physical Graffiti show, but some are not. If you follow the links I think you will enjoy some fabulous art!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thank you Leslie for a great posting. Your questions and Pam's answers were very interesting. I too congratulate all the artists in the show and to Pam!

  3. Thanks Carole. There seems to be a bit of work that goes into putting together an interesting art show.

  4. Very interesting discussion as are the pieces you included in this post. I like the title for the show; Physical Graffiti seems just right.

  5. It must be a huge amount of work to put a show like this together! The artworks you have shown all complement each other and I am sure the show will be a great success. Congratulations to Pam and all the artists taking part. Wish I could see your work in this setting Leslie! Great behind the scenes interview too.

  6. This will surely be a wonderful artshow, and you also made a great selection of interesting pieces. Exactly - where is YOUR work in this show?

  7. Wonderful post. Enjoyed see those fabulous pieces. Thank you!

  8. Great inteview - interesting questions and responses. Congratulations and all the best for the duration of the show.

  9. Great interview, great art - oh I wish I lived closer. Congrats - I'm sure the show will be fabulous!

  10. Hi Leslie! Another inspiring post.
    Thanks for sharing.

  11. congratulations Leslie for being in this lovely show!! Wow. Are you coming to PA for the opening?? Your work fits right in with the others. Love the hanging sculpture too. I am so excited for you.

  12. Wonderful Post Leslie!
    I enjoy the show.
    congratulation and thanks for sharing

  13. congratulations on the show Leslie. Thrilled for you :)

  14. Thanks Jo.

    I enjoy the works together too Robyn. Pam did a great job of choosing work that is complementary.

    Sue, the first piece in this post is one of mine for the show. I have a couple of others I plan to share in the next posts.

    Hi Annell and Chris, thank you.

    Di I also enjoyed hearing about Pam's experience pulling the show together. I bet it was a labor of love.

    Judy I wish I lived closer too. I would love to be at the opening, but alas I can not.

    Eric, thank you!

    Suki I wish I was going to be there.

    Thanks Ralph!

    Hi Jeane thank you. Its been a fun process and a good reason to stay focused.

  15. Thanks Leslie, a top notch post with thrilling pieces. This will be one hell of a show.

    Once again I'm struck by the freedom and elegance of your work. Is "Just Emerged" part of the show?

  16. this was so interesting and beautiful and as always I am inspired when I land at your site~

  17. How wonderful it would be to attend your show Leslie and get a viewing up close of this fine work collected here.
    May it all go wonderfully well!

  18. Congratulations! This post gives us all some idea of the beauty that will be this show. Great interview and great space!

  19. Shayla - Gee, thank you soooo much! Just Emerged is in the show. I have 4 collages on paper in the show. I will be getting some installation images I think. The show is clear across the continent from me, so I couldn’t be at the opening. I understand none of the west coast artists made it to the event.

    I like the works of the artist in the show very much. I think Pam did a great job choosing cohesive and complementary work.

    Freedom in my work is something I nurture. I am so touched you see it. Thank you.

    ELK - as always, I am inspired by the beauty at your site as well. Thank you.

    Sophie thank you for the good wishes!

    Hi Mary Ann - thank you. As I said, I hope to get some installation images. I will share them if at all possible. It is a big gallery space - very fortunate!

  20. LAM - it is interesting to see how artists interpret a single theme - the muse of differentiation and creative individuality is alive and well - great to see. B

  21. I can tell this fabulous post took you much time and effort but the payoff is wonderful.. I can see the over all connection between all the works of the mark making- your strong suit too. And Pam is right, the viewer completes the process and this viewer wishes she could see the show in person.. congrats on being included.

  22. Hi Donna: This viewer would like to see the show too! Thank goodness for digital cameras, blogs and all the ways we have to see something across the continent. Thanks.

  23. yes, donna and leslie...thanks for both of your blogs and your sharing! congratulations, leslie, in very good company in this show: a combination special!

  24. Leslie your blog is inspiring as always, and I love your work. Congratulations on being selected for such an outstanding show!

    One of these days I hope that our paths will cross.

    Btw, had to borrow your Dali quote from your last post for my status today.

  25. Oh I LOVE these Leslie...beautiful mark making visual treats.

  26. superb post!!! thanks Leslie
    and a big hello from Madrid,


  27. Some amazingly beautiful work and so well published on this post. Thanks for sharing this with us Leslie - just wish I could come and see it for real.

  28. I love the interview and the food for thought. Thanks for sharing all those great images and taking the time to write up the interview I really appreciated both.

  29. Absolutely gorgeous work, Leslie. Thank you for visiting my own Blog and for leaving a comment; I would not have found you otherwise. I really like your style. Beautiful abstracts.

    Kim Davies.


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