My buddy, John Morse, has new collages in a show called “America,” opening at the Silas Marder Gallery in Bridgehampton, New York the Saturday after Thanksgiving. These recent portraits are made entirely from found paper – junk mail, macaroni boxes, newspaper, all materials that would either end up in the trash or in the recycling bin, but have been transformed into . . . yup, ART!
Since I and my group have been passionately challenging ourselves to artistically re-purpose paper waste into three dimensional installations and objects, I LOVE encountering other members of the tribe who are on parallel paths, especially those that yield very different artistic outcomes. I tend to think about waste materials as the building blocks of an object or a room, like when we used six tons of shredded office paper waste to build a “Versailles Garden” of sculptural topiaries for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards last year. John clearly uses paper in two dimensions to fantastic effect and, to the former painter in me that is very exciting! Instead of dipping a brush into paint, John rips swaths of color from the discards of packaging and draws a shadow, a nose, an essence.
I was delighted when John sent me these images to check out. Forget Pearl Paint and pricey art materials. Next time you want to “draw,” just rip up your empty cereal boxes, supermarket circulars, and old J. Crew catalogues -- they are as good a “box of colors” as any that Crayola makes.