Last week a group of thirteen artists alongside curator David Wills took over a storefront pop-up space on the Bowery for thirty-six hours to create a show titled “Merging Properties.” Featuring a wide variety of contemporary practices, the show proposed expansive new interpretations for the term collage through the inclusion of mixed media sculptures and installations, photographs, paintings and gifs.
Amongst the many works on display, the only “traditional” paper collages were presented by Morgan Lappin, one of the founding members of the Brooklyn Collage Collective. Reminiscent of Richard Hamilton’s critical pop-collages from the 1950s, Lappin’s two modestly sized collages explored the relationship between nature and technological progress, as in Trainspotting (2011), in which floral cutouts surrounded an image of a double-headed train, the merger creating a revolver shaped Rorschach blossom.
At the other end of the spectrum, practicing alternative collage by integrating sculpture and image was Shynn Kim’s Mind Space (2014); a multi-media installation consisting of a slide projector, slides, wood, and vinyl sheets. Eighty slides of western-American landscapes (purchased on the internet) were projected onto a vinyl sheet, in the center of which was cut a triangular form. Depending upon ones perspective, the landscapes were interrupted in one of two different ways. Viewed from the front of the gallery, the landscapes appeared within the triangle, but when viewed from behind, the landscapes themselves were punctured by a triangular void.
A particularly playful interpretation of collage was exemplified by the three .gifs by Carla Gannis, displayed on iPads near the entrance to the gallery. Fragments from her ongoing project Garden of Emoji Delights, she digitally collaged emoji symbols and animated characters into Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights, (1500-1505). Just as the original painting warned of moral degradation and a loss of innocence whilst relishing the very rapture it depicted, so did Gannis’s playfully sexual .gifs strike an ambiguous note in between the celebration and the condemnation of our hyper-mediated society.
Other work of note included sculptures by Donna Cleary and Kevin Marin, and paintings of Heather Morgan and Jesse McCloskey. Both Cleary and Marin presented sculptural installations using found materials and electronic components, implying the possibility of three-dimensional collage. The methods of Morgan and McCloskey differed quite greatly by comparison: Heather Morgan’s painting Waves Become Wings (2014) featured a pin up model juxtaposed with a hawk and a Hokusai wave, flattening the images together in a manner reminiscent of a Photoshop collage. Jesse McCloskey’s still life paintings, on the other hand, were meticulously created by collaging layers of painted vinyl onto canvas.
Participating artists were Andrea Champlin, Donna Cleary, Carla Gannis, Shynn Kim, Alison Kuo, Morgan Lappin, Kevin Marin, David Meanix, Jesse McCloskey, Laura Miller, Heather Morgan, Aubrey Roemer, and Juliana Stankiewicz. The show took place at Open Gallery Space, 355A Bowery, and ran for just two nights, July 9th and 10th.
Article by Naomi Lev
Photography by Max Noy