Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Paralysis Project

Collaboration in collage is a grand thing, yea, verily, and I have participated in many collaborations, in all cases finding out things about myself that I didn't know. Not that that's the point of collaboration by any means, but self-knowledge is always a nice perk for an artist. I've recently emerged from Complete Collaboration Immersion as the editor of Zach Collins' stunning new book We Said Hello and Shook Hands, which documents the interaction and output of hundreds of collage artists (myself included) on over 500 artworks. More about that later. I've collaborated on things as small as matchbooks and so large as to require mailing in a poster tube, with artists whose aesthetic I share and with artists whose work resides way outside of my comfort zone. When I think of myself seated with a lively glass of red bellied up to the bar of collaboration, my thoughts have been kind. Well, maybe more than kind. Maybe smug. I've never walked away from a challenge, even when almost overcome with paralysis that I would mess it up. That's good, right?

Nonetheless, here I am today, 24 hours after posting this message on my Facebook wall: "Seriously, Allan Bealy? You want me to WORK on these? All I want to do is FRAME them."

Cut to the "these" to which I refer:

Two "starts" by Allan Bealy on flattened packaging materials, featuring gel transfers. Don't know about gel transfers? I did a tutorial back in 2012 (so some thing are outdated), which you can find here: http://lauratringaliholmes.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-make-gel-transfer.html

A detail of Allan Bealy's so-called starts.

So now I've found out something more about myself. I am NOT immune to paralysis.

I should explain that I have collaborated with Allan before, both in the physical and the conceptual realms. In the former, most recently on an absolutely charming book featuring a number of collaborative takes on Allan's olive warbler.

A delicious book, you can purchase it at http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/808719
In the latter, conceptual, sense, and, most recently, I've collaborated on Allan's inventive and engaging alphabet book, shown below.

"Exploding the alphabet" is no joke. Allan randomly assigned a letter to a variety of artists and asked them to interpret that letter in collage. The results are unexpected and compelling--the framework of the alphabet adds discipline, all the more luscious when the discipline goes free-form. You may purchase this delightful book at http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/875147?__r=529169

And here is my contribution to Allan's Alphabet, so you know I'm not afraid of birds, gel transfers, or Allan.

"Homecoming,"  8 x 8 on wrapped canvas, Laura Tringali Holmes 2015
Paper collage with d├ęcollage and mixed media (gel ink transfers, dye ink, pencil, mica flakes)
This working-on-Allan's-starts is going to be an interesting journey, as I figure out where (well, first, if) I fit in. Already I have questions about composition and other technical considerations, but my sub-text, which is always cooking, is also poking around at questions of meaning and context. You see, I care about these pieces already. Yet part of what draws me to collage are the edgy antecedents, the anarchist thing, where caring can take a back seat to, say, being in the moment and going with the intuitive flow and rejoicing in the unlikely juxtapositions and fragmentations that so poignantly can express what a lot of us are feeling about our society right about now.

But I'm already looking at this from a painterly viewpoint, so I guess we'll see how that intersects with collage.  Stay tuned. For better or for worse, all will be revealed.

I mentioned earlier the book of collage collaborations I edited for Zach Collins. We've been calling it The Big Book, but it does have a name: "We Said Hello and Shook Hands." If you are even remotely interested in the collaborative effect, this will be a seminal volume for your library. If you don't think you're particularly interested in collaborations, I would still suggest you give this volume a spin anyway, because, embedded in the collaborative theme, are many strata of meaning that just about any artist will relate to. I'll be blogging about the book in depth soon, but for now, a few teasers.

The cover, a collaboration between Zach Collins and Fred Free. You may purchase the book through Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/We-Said-Hello-Shook-Hands/dp/0692382828/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426632976&sr=1-1&keywords=we+said+hello+and+shook+hands

Collaborations between Zach Collins and Ted Tollefson
Collaborations between Zach Collins and Mister Koppa
Collaborations between Zach Collins and Aaron Beebe

Collaborations between Zach Collins, Eugenia Loli, and Allan Bealy

As always, thanks for reading. Looking forward to reporting back on my progress in what I am rather fondly calling "The Paralysis Project."
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