and tree that were the departure point
for "Family Tree"
In April of 2003, I participated in a
unique exhibit at Brickbottom Gallery
in Somerville, MA. The theme of the show
was collaboration between two or more
artists. There were two components to
the show. The first was to create a piece
by working closely with an artist of your
choosing. It could be someone you’ve
worked with extensively or someone you’ve
never worked with before. The second component
was to create an “exquisite corpse”
in collaboration with all the artists
in the show, but working independently.
Each artist was assigned a section to
work on. I worked on the head and legs.
The “corpse” was not assembled
in its entirety until the show was hung.
I worked with artist and photographer
Susan Green on our collaboration piece.
Our goal for this project was to create
a work of art combining traditional oil
painting and collage with digital technology,
two very different media, into a unified
whole. To achieve that, we utilized the
concept of “deconstruction”.
We selected a photograph that I had taken
of a yellow house near my studio to use
as a starting point. The photo was scanned
into quadrants. We each worked on two
quadrants. We knew that by working on
different parts of the same overall image
that the finished piece would have an
inherent cohesion. I interpreted and re-created
my photo fragments using oil paint and
collage. Susan digitally manipulated her
photo fragments in the computer. We placed
our squares next to each other’s
at various intervals during the creative
process to ensure that there was aesthetic
overlap and to strategize ways to enhance
the continuity of the art. For example,
we each added birds to our squares. Despite
the coordination of certain elements,
there were still unexpected results each
time we did this.
I worked directly on wood panels and
Susan’s digital prints were glued
onto wood panels. When we assembled the
finished panels we were delighted with
the results. We experimented with arranging
them out of sequence but then decided
to maintain the integrity of the original
image. The panels then had to be braced
individually and all four joined together.
This was our first collaboration project
together. It was an unusual experience
for me to not have complete control over
the outcome of an artwork that I was involved
with. But the overall effect that was
achieved through collaboration was exciting
and would not have been possible for an
individual artist to duplicate. The result
was well worth all the angst.