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.