Open the Chute & Provoke the Intuitive


Spotlight on Collage Trading Card Artist Una Gildea

From Dublin, Ireland, Una Gildea writes, “I juxtapose recognizable found images and transformed cutouts into pictorial narratives that invite the viewer to apply their own stories. Narratives at once oddly recognizable, yet uncomfortably odd; narratives often downright obscene, whilst pushing the chuckle-button; narratives that always aim to open the chute direct to the subconscious, that provoke an intuitive, not literal, sense, of what’s going on. My work is analog–an X-ACTO knife and cutting mat my preferred tools.”

Gildea’s collage, Trinity, is featured in Collage Artist Trading Cards Pack 8.

Packs of Collage Artist Trading Cards are a tool for discovering contemporary, fine art collage. Each card is a full colour, 5.5”x3.5” postcard with rounded corners. An example of an artist’s work is on the front of the card and the artist’s public contact information is on the back.

We asked Gildea some questions about her work.

What’s your story?

I am a collage artist and I also teach. I am passionate about that which I love and quirky to boot.

Can you explain the idea behind Trinity?

The female body is taken from an early erotic postcard; the idea was to subvert the original context of the pose. The woman gazes down, her eyes averted, but not in a coy sexual way, as another older woman (perhaps her mother, or a medical professional?) presses her breast, checking for something. There is an artificiality to her breasts, heightening the contrast between the reality and the original erotic context. The ghost of another women is to be seen behind the main figure, hinting at transgenerational connections.

How do you make this work?

The starting point is the same as for all my work: I respond intuitively to the visual material I am looking through, subconsciously making connections, forming associations until the apparently disparate elements reveal themselves. For this work, I used elements from early erotic postcards, contemporary beauty magazines and medical supply magazines.

What informs your collage making?

I am interested in exploring the boundary between eroticism and reality; between women portrayed as sexual objects to be leered at and the reality of women and their bodies.

What are you working on these days?

I am working on a new collage series and preparing for an exhibition in Amsterdam in 2018. I am also experimenting with new techniques and materials.


One can see more of Gildea’s collage in the Kolaj Magazine Artist Directory and at Her animation can be seen on Vimeo.

Images: (top to bottom)
Beautiful Creature
Hey You Fish
Trinity (11.4″x8.3″; collage; 2010)
Strength (15.4″x11.8; collage)