The impulse to make collages suddenly “got up and went.” It took a while to accept, but a fruitless week of staring at little bits of paper with no forward movement whatsoever convinced me. When the Shakti withdraws her hand, there’s no choice but to give up. Still, it was one heck of a ride. The manic storm of cutting and gluing has passed over, leaving behind four decent works and one better-than-nothing afterthought.
Here’s the last gasp: a cut and sewn together arrangement of studio portraits found in a dumpster. It is my habit to rifle through neighborhood alleys searching for frames. Sometimes, the sweet, sad objects which people leave behind touch the heart, making it impossible to avoid making up stories about them. Heaps of silk ties and men’s shirts might mean the end of a love affair or the death of a spouse. Abandoned bible study notes might be a religious conversion tossed aside. Once, I found a cache of naughty snaps from a local bar which were so vulgar, I tossed them right back. Photos often appear and some of them, like these three studio portraits, are collected and held onto for years. Were these ancestors forgotten or just disliked? Who knows? Unable to throw them away but tired of being their caretaker, I finally decided to cut up and reassemble the lot. With this last montage whimper, it’s back to painting.
The catalyst which pulled the plug on my short collage career was this little graphic whipped up for Joel’s latest article for the Short North Gazette.
I began to wonder where Victoria’s Secret makes their come hither gear and, sure enough, there are factories sprinkled throughout the world: notably in Jordan, where an influx of Syrian refugees has guaranteed a steady supply of desperate seamstresses and Sri Lanka, where labor is also presumably cheap. Beautiful lingerie is made under some decidedly unbeautiful conditions.
As usual, I’m doing the background first. The roses were carefully positioned and plotted out but the wallpaper itself is basically a free-hand exercise.
The undies will be painted last and are based on products in Victoria’s Secret online catalog.
I expect there to be quite a bit of free-hand interpretation as I make my way across the surface but basically the products should be recognizably the same.
I think the end result will be attractive and philosophically resonant. So many desires are literally sewn into these garments: the desire for sex, to wield or cede power in the game of love, to make a buck, to make a living, to take advantage of other people’s misery. Like most things in life, beautiful things can be complicated.