Betty’s Ketchup: 1910 to 1960
12″x36″; 1910 catsup print ad, 1927 ketchup print ad, 1940 ketchup print ad, 1959 ketchup print ad, 1960 catsup print ad, 1920s and ’30s catsup labels, 1940s penny scale fortune cards, 1950s View-Master slide, 1960s dome earrings, 1970s Soviet watch faces and vintage: watch parts/movements, microfiche film, 16 mm film tins, skeleton keys, buttons and snaps, brass intersection fasteners; 2013
Sheila Margaret Mullen
East Hampton, Connecticut, USA
“Structured Chaos” in a way feels like the return to my architectural drawing, presentation and model-building background, blended with my love for the random and abstract. Another element that has become very important to me is the history of the ephemera I use: items from the past that were intended to be short-lived and discarded, but have become fascinating and beautiful. I don’t use reproductions, and some of the items are now valuable as well. I also find so much whimsy, nostalgia and wonder in the very old materials, and love changing their meanings through juxtaposition in a piece. I’m not sure why I love microfiche and 16mm film so much, but I think it is the combination of the translucence with the linear form. I would have a hard time creating a collage without using filmstrips. I’ve done a few without View-Master slides, and that was a push. Oh and please don’t ask me to go without vintage tins. Or watch parts.
Not much is meaningless in my work, and balance and form are critical. I love structuring and playing with the menagerie of the collage medium, and the hardest part often is deciding how to stop work on a piece (I usually simplify from the original multi-layered design). That is where I try to find a balance between the meaningful and deliberate detail when viewing up-close, with the visual impact when taking a few steps back.
b. 1963, Port Jefferson, New York
BA Syracuse University
MALS Arts Wesleyan University
Sheila grew up in Westfield, New Jersey, where she is proud to say she was voted class artist in Mr. Levine’s sixth grade class at Elm Street School. Her path to collage has been more of a muddy, cracked and potholed MC Escher-esque road, with formal education and experience mainly in the architectural field (drafting, presentation and model-making). Elements of graduate school projects at Wesleyan University really jump-started this collage obsession and love. Although the work has been in her head for longer, the studio time and ability to commit to pieces just began in 2013.
Sheila’s first solo show, “Structured Chaos”, was at The Buttonwood Tree in Middletown, Connecticut, USA, 5-30 April 2014. Sheila is interested in showing her work more widely, both in North America and beyond.
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24″x24″; 1983 full Talking Heads ticket, 1989 Tom Tom Club stub, 1992 full David Byrne ticket, 1977-80 Talking Heads magazine ads, 1980s Talking Heads newspaper clippings, 1985 Little Creatures promo pins, 1940 ketchup ad, 1966 Clairol Girl ad, 1950 little men and cars metal game pieces: Park and Shop, 1950 Park and Shop game card, late 1940s View-Master slide, 1967 little book pages: The Invaders, vintage old gramophone tins (some needles inside), vintage cigarette, aspirin and spark plug tins, vintage watch parts, microfiche and 16 mm films, vintage French perfume label, 1940s pewter Monopoly game piece, 1960s encyclopedia page; 2014
12″x24″; 1940s and ’50s Rx (3) vintage photos, 1970s Soviet watch dials, 1980s engraved watch backs, vintage 16mm film, banknotes of India (1 rupee), early 1900s German literature, vintage 3-prong fasteners, 1950s UK bus ticket, vintage tins 1970s snaps and buttons, 1950s watch parts, microfiche film, international stamps, 1940s-50s View-Master slides, vintage portrait lens and case; 2013
18″x24″; (3)1950s metal Archer space people figures, 1967 Look magazine photos and articles, Official U.S. Air Force UFO Form (Look magazine 1967 publication), 1950s-‘60s tiny Scrabble tiles, 1967 The Invaders mini-book pages, 1940s weigh scale fortune card, 1970s Soviet watch faces, 1940s or ‘50s pewter Monopoly pieces, 1940s French flashcard, vintage: Kyrgyzstan bank note (10 tyin), watch parts, Czech matchbox graphics, tins, carnival tickets, food labels, international stamps, keys, dominoes, dice (newer), microfiche film strips, 16mm film strips, jukebox labels, snaps
36″x12″; 1966 Life magazine cover, 1960s Batman comic, 1940s Monopoly game pieces, Kyrgyzstan bank note (50 tyin), 1970s Soviet watch face, 1950s labels, vintage: tins, watch parts, pharmacy labels, keys, carnival tickets, microfiche, buttons