Cut Up and Newly Pasted

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“Cut&Paste” is an exhibit about collage and reinvention. Images, both still and video, are taken out of their context and manipulated into something new: a reflection of the artists’ own imagination. Five artists, Anita Allyn, Ellie Brown, Kent Latimer, Eric Lendl, and Caroline Shields participated in the exhibit at Falling Cow Gallery.

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Ellie Brown’s Found Book Collages

Ellie Brown’s found book collages tell a story about her sexuality. All but one of the pages inside are glued together; the inside cover features a collage of mixed media, which represents the story within. Apparently, each book represents a past relationship, and Brown contacted the men to alert them of their presence in her art. Only some of them responded – most with curiosity, but others with disinterest or even anger.

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Ellie Brown – “Not Made For Quitting”

Many of the books reminded me of what my Aunt gave me to read when I was younger – Nancy Drew, the Boxcar children, Sweet Valley High. They had playful slogans like, “Love CAN Say No” or “‘She’s my wife,’ he thought, “but she doesn’t want me.” Yet there was a frightening complicity of gender roles in the images chosen; representations of women fawning over men, tempting them, or sometimes even running away from them. The bright colors and shapes were catchy, perhaps distracting the viewer at first from recognizing the message that each book offers – which made the art humorous, but perhaps sardonically so. The fact is, there were a LOT of the books; in bulk, the effect was overwhelming. Love, through Brown’s books, seems like a scary carnival ride – fun only for the first couple of minutes.

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Caroline Shields – “Later Than You Think”

In contrast, though superficially similar, is Caroline Shields. To give you a quick background, Caroline Shields considers herself a “collector” – not an artist. Further, she quotes her influences as “Anne Frank, Edith Piaf, Saint Theresa, and pop culture icons Barbie and Hello Kitty” (from her bio at the Gallery).

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Shields – “St. Joli – Protector of the Innocents”

Her works look like little shrines to a female deity from the 80’s – cute, religious, and fun. If they were homages to a person I might think them a bit morbid, but they feature Hello Kitty, Barbies, little dolls, birds, and cute pictures of Virgin Mary’s and Jesus Christ’s (if the latter can be “cute”). I think of what Joseph Cornell’s grandaughter might have made alongside him in his studio, and her work comes to mind. And if you found her reference to The Specials song in the first image of hers above, kudos to you.

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Eric Lendl, “A Day at the Beach”

And to represent the boys is Eric Lendl. His work has a retro feel to it that reminded me of 1950’s TV, or advertisements for toy rifles. The individual images joined has an especially childlike feel at first glance, until one questions why the scary dinosaurs are in the same collage with kids in a toybox. There are more adult themes behind the collages: ideas about government, religion, science, war, and Lendl explores how these varying themes are represented in and affecting today’s society.

Cut&Paste featured many childlike images, which may be inspired by the scissors and tape memories of arts and crafts in elementary school. These images at first seemed old-fashioned, but when joined together they create a new overlook to today’s reality. Perhaps the overall statement is that not much of what we find funny about the past has changed in the modern world, especially in regards to the approach to gender roles, love and play. More pictures, including Kent Latimer’s “The Way I was Raised” and a still from Anita Allyn’s “Imaginary Lines” (which was previously shown at a Vox Populi exhibit), are on my flickr site.

“Cut&Paste” is at Falling Cow Gallery, 732 South 4th Street. Hours are 11:00-6:00, Wednesday through Saturday. Hurry because this exhibit closes the 30th!

-Caitlin is: Artblog Intern

Tags

anita allyn, caitlin, caroline shields, ellie brown, eric lendl, kent latimer

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