photomontage series, collages 1-6

This series was inspired by David Hockney’s photomontages. As we were leaving our rented home in southern France in early 2017, I went into the first floor wine-makers garage where my husbands’ Renault-4L was stowed away awaiting our next visit. I quickly snapped about 100 images of the parked vehicle from different angles, knowing I would want to try photomontage as one of my collage series. Here are six takes, all using the same pile of 100 photos.

Photomontage dates back to the mid-Victorian era. So although he didn’t invent the idea, he definitely popularized it. I think every modern day photographer (myself included) goes through a Hockney photomontage phase. I, myself, have gone in and out of the phase at least three times. It seems, every ten years I feel the need to try it again. After this most recent effort with this form of collage, I feel it is a bit like cooking—where early results are often good, or certainly good enough, but that repeatedly exceptional results takes years of practice.

Here is what wiki says about David Hockney’s photomontages: In the early 1980s, Hockney began to produce photo collages, which he called “joiners”. Creation of the “joiners” occurred accidentally. He noticed in the late sixties that photographers were using cameras with wide-angle lenses. He did not like these photographs because they looked somewhat distorted. While working on a painting of a living room and terrace in Los Angeles, he took Polaroid shots of the living room and glued them together, not intending for them to be a composition on their own. On looking at the final composition, he realised it created a narrative, as if the viewer moved through the room. He began to work more with photography after this discovery and stopped painting for a while to exclusively pursue this new technique.

STILL collage project 2017 | Week 21 (mary jo hoffman)

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the making of this series was much more light hearted than it looks. here’s how i did it: i glued together one piece of black to one piece of white paper to make six 11×14 backgrounds. then i taped my two-toned backgrounds to my work table. i put out a big gob of white paint and big gob of black paint. then i rolled a pizza cutting wheel through the paint and then onto my backgrounds over and over. the black and white may give the images a hint of solemnity. but i was there while they were created, and i’m telling you it was pure joy.

STILL collage project 2017 | Week 20 (mary jo hoffman)

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motherwell inspired collage series

this collage series was inspired by the collages of artist robert motherwell. i was actually looking into the works of his wife, the artist helen frankenthaler, when i came across robert’s collages. we all know that really good collage can often look haphazard and almost accidental, and yet it is often exactingly assembled. and even though i know this in my heart of hearts, i still fell for the illusion of simplicity in motherwell’s early collages. i thought o myself ‘i want to try my hand at this’. well, let me tell you, these collages in this series we’re anything but casual and haphazard.

i will have to return to helen’s color staining of unprimed canvases for inspiration at another time.

STILL collage project 2017 | Week 19 (mary jo hoffman)

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vellum cut-outs collage series

i had a notion of making some collages that looked like patch-worked quilt using transparent papers. when my vellum paper showed up, the colors were so citrusy and tropical that they didn’t fit my original idea. so, as the expression goes…when life give you lemons, make lemonade.

STILL collage project 2017 | Week 18 (mary jo hoffman)

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primary colors collage series

this weekly collage challenge was intended to be a place of experimentation and play. as i was brand new to collage, i could argue it has all been experimentation. and yet, as i look back over the past many weeks i see that although i may be playing with shape and form, i have been keeping with my preferred palette of secondary and tertiary colors. so, this week i challenged myself to use the three primary colors and back. influences from matisse, mondrian, and calder are easily identifiable.

STILL collage project 2017 | Week 17 (mary jo hoffman)

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