Collage, for me, is a vocabulary that offers varying visual images as mutable letters spelling out with juxtapositions messages, poems or reconfigured environments. As I use them with etchings, they are stage sets that enhance what was simply a print, providing mood, information, another level of sensuality and colour, colour.
A printmaker and poet for many years, I pushed and stretched my work to express passion, loss or memories, often including text in the etchings, always searching for more emotion, specificity. Asked why I continue to refashion “finished” work, I quote Keats who said, “…the excellence of every Art is its intensity…” *
In many instances, the image to be used had strong personal associations and from that I chose items of history; tickets, fabrics, labels and dried vegetation, an old fan, ripped silk from a robe. It often seems this things are imbued with something that makes their inclusion another level–one beyond my usual materials.
So when I took up a plate that had served, I thought, its purpose and brought it down on a collage from the same inspiration, I found a mix that lets me go on driving the many ways of communicating. It has been a source of great and continuing enjoyment and adventure.
Ellen Peckham has read, published and exhibited in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. She frequently uses both art forms in a single work, the text decorating and explicating and the image illuminating. Her archives of drafts, edits and art are collected at the Harry Ransom Center For The Humanities and a 7-minute visual biography, Parallel Vocabularies, is available on DVD and via her website, www.ellenpeckham.com.