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Monday, September 27, 2010.

Exhibit focuses on collage in painting and drawing

A group exhibition that explores the transformative power of collage will be held Sept. 29-Oct. 22 in the Antelope Valley College Art Gallery, 3041 W. Ave. K, Lancaster.

An opening night reception 7-9 p.m. will feature a talk by artist Tom Miller.

“Odd Harmonies: Collage in Painting and Drawing” features the work of Miller as well as Dara Engler, Karrie Maxwell, Katie McGuire, Anthony Ragucci and Adeline Wysong.

Tom Miller's "Serpent Secret"
Tom Miller's "Serpent Secret"

The work of the six artists is typically categorized as painting or drawing, according to curator Christine Mugnolo. However, the collage elements in select works confuse traditional definitions and fuel the creative process for these artists.

Several artists use collage to probe our expectations of traditional media.

Wysong dissolves the unity of meaning and mark in her Chinese calligraphy paintings by cropping out only the most expressive elements of her symbols and reassembling them into a disparate yet familiar language.

Ragucci painstakingly cuts out the splattered, rugged edges of individual watercolor strokes and then layers the dissected strokes on top of one another. The process allows each stroke to keep its unique shape and color as the painting builds.

The artists share common ground in that collage has inspired new directions in their work and forged new content.

Maxwell’s collages allow her to work more quickly than in oil paint, helping her discover new characters for her “human parodies.”

For Miller, cut and paste generated a more playful, whimsical body of work where fantastic characters collide in dreamlike spaces.

Engler’s gold leaf backgrounds were initially inspired by altar paintings in Italy, imbuing her lethargic figures with a contradictory radiance.

McGuire’s chaotic fantasies seem to be constantly fracturing, blurring the distinction between her figures and their fantastic environments.

The title of the show, inspired by Miller’s artist statement, references how the discord of collage makes the pursuit of harmony a creative challenge for the artist, a visual enigma for the viewer, and a philosophical quandary for the work.

The gallery is located in FA1 on the southwestern portion of campus. Gallery shows are free and open to the public 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon to 9 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.