This winter the Portland Museum of Art
explores the world of collages in the exhibition Collage: Piecing It Together, on view through February 28, 2010. Featuring approximately 25 works from the Museums collection and selected loans from contemporary Maine artists, this exhibition explores the history of collage from its introduction in Europe in the early 20th century by artists such as Kurt Schwitters and Jean Arp to present day works by Maine artists such as Tom Hall and Aaron Stephan. The exhibition also covers a wide range of collage techniques, including abstract works pieced together from newsprint and colored papers, collaged elements incorporated into drawings and prints, paintings that include collaged figurative elements, and photomontages.
Collage (from the French, coller, to glue) is a work of art made from the assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole. It became a distinctive part of the modern movement in the early 20th century, notably deployed by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso at the height of synthetic cubism, and it continues to be an important aspect of the visual arts in Maine today.
The exhibition demonstrates how collages by the renowned German modernist Kurt Schwitters and Surrealists Jean Arp and Joan Miró influenced the work of Abstract Expressionists including Anne Ryan, James Brooks, and John Hultberg.
In Maine today, artists continue to draw on the inventive nature of collage for works in a variety of media, such as Henry Wolyniecs abstract collotypes that combine printmaking and traditional cut-paper compositions; Tom Halls landscape paintings with their found-paper elements; and Aaron Stephans portraits composed of deconstructed anatomy book illustrations.