COLLAGE ON VIEW
Change of Seen
at John G. Irvin Art Gallery in Lexington, Kentucky, USA
21 January-2 March 2022
John Andrew Dixon’s collage landscapes are “distinctive for two reasons,” writes the gallery. “His landscapes are created from discarded paper, ruined publications, tissue, reclaimed tea bags, and even roadside litter…He is one of the few collage artists who has solved the challenge of working en plein air.”
Dixon’s approach is rooted in the history of collage as a modern art developed by innovative painters. “I’m intrigued and inspired by how avant-garde ideas have evolved into contemporary collage,” he says, “and I bring that awareness to representational art, which hasn’t been associated with the medium.”
With a wet-on-wet technique, Dixon saturates ingredients to craft a result not available with dry material. He uses sandpaper to feather edges, blades and probes to create scored textures, and pliers for edges more intricate than fingertips can achieve. He rarely adds pigments, as in traditional mixed media, but will tint paste with walnut ink, burnt coffee, or berry juice. Various adhesives offer contrasting degrees of stickiness and drying time. Printed text often appears to provide subtle highlights or more overt suggestions of patterned shadow, “but also to remind viewers that it is, after all, a collage,” he says.
“I’m making not only an artifact, but also painting with paper. Decades of design decisions and influences enable my work to be intuitive. Collage is about the creative tension between order and chaos, similar to how an improvisational instrumentalist elaborates on a musical manuscript. I’m interested in a counterbalance of observation, composition, and spontaneity. The natural setting that I see on location serves as the written melody. The qualities of the paper—color, value, shape, pattern, texture—can be the notes, rests, and rhythms of the interpretation.
(text adapted from materials provided by the gallery)
John G. Irvin Art Gallery
at Central Bank
300 West Vine Street
Lexington, Kentucky 40507 USA