For Immediate Release
September 2020


Collage and Cutout – Nine Artists

Bowery Gallery online at Artsy

September 17–November 22, 2020

Panel discussion via Zoom, Sunday, September 20, 6pm


Martha Armstrong, Rita Baragona, Monica Bernier, Audrey Cohn-Ganz, Stephanie Franks, Mark Lewis, Lynette Lombard, Naomi Nemtzow, Hearne Pardee

Collage emerged from the context of Cubism in 1911, when Picasso added real chair caning to a still life - overturning painting’s representational conventions and foreshadowing the discontinuity and fragmentation of 20th century art. Subsequent painters, like those in this exhibition, have taken advantage of that rupture—and its challenge to the visual imagination—by extending painting, incorporating material discontinuity into their working process and embracing its tendency towards abstraction.  Their work reflects the constructive logic of artists like Juan Gris, who generated his cubist compositions from collage and considered painting “flat colored architecture”, but even more the influence of Henri Matisse’s exuberant, free-form colored paper cut-outs.

Such a combination of influences is evident in Rita Baragona’s vivid color and strong construction in her composite image of a garden, or in Monica Bernier’s elegant nocturnal landscapes, in which Matisse seems to merge with the early American abstraction of Arthur Dove. There’s a similar landscape impulse at work in Lynette Lombard’s organic fusions of fabric and paper. The submerged structures of Audrey Cohn-Ganz’s densely worked images suggest a more inward turn, by which they take on the character of material objects. Equally dense, Stephanie Franks’ overall compositions take her materials into the realm of pure color, inspired by her interest in Persian miniatures.

Cubist collage was rooted in an everyday context but also stimulated the dream logic of Surrealism, a duality evident in the way Naomi Nemtzow has moved from abstracted scenes of city life reminiscent of Stuart Davis into her “quarantine” compositions, where freely associated forms evoke the uneasy playfulness of Joan Miro. Similar improvisation motivates Martha Armstrong’s luminous, delicately crafted compositions, which recall Kurt Schwitter’s collaged scraps of discarded paper. The urban scenes of Mark Lewis, on the other hand, generate energies that break the boundaries of the frame and reshape the visual field. Hearne Pardee also works from the everyday landscape, but uses the purified color sensations of Cezanne and Josef Albers to articulate the represented space. Such wide-ranging references emphasize the manifold imaginative potential of collage, grounded in its rudimentary connection to materials and its questioning of conventions.

There will be a panel discussion via Zoom featuring five of the participants at 6pm on Sunday, September 20.