Rough Cut is a group exhibition of eight contemporary artists who use collage as a preliminary stage in their art making process. The show examines the variety of ways that artists use collage, from simplified exploratory forms to highly developed work. Rough Cut will feature one or more collages by each artist, alongside the finished work that results from them. The exhibition offers a glimpse into the artist’s process, both technically and conceptually.
The idea for the show grew out of a consideration of Carrie Moyer's 2011 show at Canada Gallery, where she exhibited taped black and white collage studies along with the dynamic full color paintings that grew out of them. Moyer's studies contain the raw elements of the future work, whereas the artist Trevor Winkfield makes elaborate studies that exactly mirror his finished paintings. Considering this contrast of approaches, the exhibition will examine the spectrum of ways in which artists use collage.
Elizabeth Hazan (artist and co-curator) begins with her work by constructing an aerial view of a landscape by layering colored, shaped papers on her studio floor. As Hazan states, “These collages lead to paintings where I become both cartographer and painter, invoking both kinds of navigation: that of our experience and in the reproduced substitutions that maps represent.” Hazan’s paintings are reinterpreted landscapes of her travels, drawn from memory. Hazan studied at Bryn Mawr College, the New York Studio School, and Skowhegan. She has had solo and two-person exhibitions at Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, New York.
Sangram Majumdar uses digital collage and cut paper to combine existing and identifiable objects mixed with fabricated sources. His paintings are derived from his own constructions, often paper taped to the wall, or reproductions and photographs cut into shards and rearranged on surfaces. The resulting paintings explore the space between representation and abstraction, degrees of legibility and naming. Majumdar received his BFA Rhode Island School of Design and his MFA from Indiana University. Since 2003, he has taught full time at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has been the subject of several solo exhibitions at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects.
Carrie Moyer begins with small collage studies done at a table before making acrylic paintings, often on the floor, pouring, rolling, stippling, mopping, and hand-working the paint, as well as adding sections of glitter. Moyer’s abstract paintings contain references to 1960s and ’70s counter culture graphics, 1970s feminist art, Color Field, Social Realist, and Surrealist paintings, and bodily forms and fluids. Moyer studied at Bennington College before receiving her BFA from the Pratt Institute and her MFA from Bard College. She is an Associate Professor at Hunter College and has exhibited at CANADA Gallery since 2003. “Carrie Moyer: Pirate Jenny,” a traveling survey exhibition, originated at the Tang Museum, Skidmore College in 2013. Moyer co-founded one of the first lesbian public art projects, Dyke Action Machine!, active in New York City between 1991-2008. She is also a prolific writer on art.
Bryan Osburn’s paintings are loosely based on collages in which he layers poly-referential abstract forms and patterns. His abstractions navigate between layers of gestural biomorphic marks and clearly delineated forms. They evoke an array of folkloristic textures, ranging from Far Eastern to Latin American, Caspar David Friedrich’s romantic landscapes, Surrealism, as well as works of the 1950s. They reflect the visual density provided by contemporary mass media. Osburn was born in 1974 in Cleveland, Ohio, and lives and works in Brooklyn and Queens. He received his MFA in painting from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. He shows with Jason McCoy Gallery, where he had a solo exhibition in 2012.
Amy Park’s watercolor paintings begin with small collages of her own photographs of façades of modernist buildings. In this way, she uses actual architecture as the starting point, but the resulting cityscapes are partially hybridized. Using repetitive pencil marks and watercolor touches, she translates the collages into large-scale optical fields that reflect the order and density of urban experience. Park received a BFA in 1999 and an MFA in 2003 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and also studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Ox-Bow Summer Art School. She exhibits with Morgan Lehman Gallery and has shown at the Poor Farm in Wisconsin (the alternative artists’ retreat and exhibition space run by Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam.)
Jennifer Sirey uses collage to create schematics of the abstract planes her sculptures incorporate. Her sculptures are vitrine-enclosed tanks containing fluid and bacterial membranes. She fills tanks with wine and acetobacter ("Mother of Vinegar”). Prior to building the tank she silicones monofilament rings to the inside of the glass to which the bacteria adheres, and forms membranes. To figure out where the rings go, she draws templates of each rectangular face of the vitrine. After the layers are grown, she flushes out the tank to make the membranes visible. The finished collage is done after the sculpture is completed, and is thought of as another entrance or dissection. Sirey says her work utilizes “an organic substance that can exist as hard edged geometry.” Sirey received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts, and has had several solo exhibitions with Feature, Inc.
Trevor Winkfield’s paintings all begin with a collage study. The paintings are settled fastidiously beforehand through the collage process. He uses both painted paper and construction paper to arrange and shuffle his forms. Winkfield says, “It’s like a Chinese box puzzle; one thing leads to another. If I’m doing a large painting, it might take a month to make a full-size collage. Then I transfer it via tracing paper onto an identically sized canvas, and begin the painting.” Winkfield was born in Leeds, England, in 1944, and has lived in New York since 1969. He exhibits his paintings at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, and is also an accomplished writer on art.
Alexi Worth has used elaborate collaged stencils to apply airbrushed pigment onto open-weave mesh canvases. His paintings often employ radical cropping to create images suggestive of multiple meanings despite their graphic qualities. His work combines a fascination with absurdist figurative distortions, the language of the comic book, and, occasionally, citations of historic paintings. As both a writer and artist, Worth has explored the relationship between photography and painting. Worth was born and raised in New York City, and received his BA from Yale University in 1986 and his MFA from Boston University in 1993. He exhibits with DC Moore Gallery. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the Yale School of Art.
Jennifer Samet, Ph.D. (exhibition co-curator), teaches art history at the City University of New York. She is the author of the popular column “Beer with a Painter,” on Hyperallergic Weekend Edition. She has curated historical exhibitions on the Jane Street Gallery and the New York Studio School, and thematic exhibitions Dark Matters and Repetitive Motion. She lectures on topics such as “The Artist’s Voice,” and “Slow Art.” She has published extensively on contemporary and post-war painting in Master Drawings, ArtNet Magazine, Artcritical, the New York Sun, and numerous exhibition catalogs.