Artist and curator, Charles Wilkin took the time to chat with The 22 about the upcoming collage show All That Remains presented by Ugly Art Room at Picture Farm in Brooklyn. Resourcing from a VAST pool of collage artists, the show is dynamic, bold and most of all, really fun. The show opens Oct 21st, with an reception from 7-9pm at Picture Farm (338 Wythe Ave.)
The 22 Magazine: You happen to be a collage artist yourself, correct? Tell me what it is that first got you hooked on collage and what you love about it?
Charles Wilkin: Yes I’m a collage artist. It’s funny because I sort of fell into collage by accident in college. I was late for a drawing class and forgot to bring my pencils and paper. I ran across the hall with nothing more than a stack of photos I’d just printed from my photo class. Instead of smacking my hand with a ruler for being unprepared my instructor said ” well use those photos”. Clearly she saw something in what I had done that day and encouraged me to make more collages. I guess what I love about collage is it’s immediacy and the happy little accidents that happen along the way. I love not knowing where I’m going until I get there and with collage I can sort of get lost in the moment. I think that’s what I really love about it most, for me it’s very freeing.
22: Tell me a little about why you chose these artists? Did anything really strike you in the selection? Can you talk about why you think these artist work really well together?
CW: In general this exhibition is about the demise of print media and how collage artists are reacting to a virtual boom of discarded ephemera. However at the same time, I wanted All That Remains to become a survey of what’s happening in contemporary collage now. Collage is not just about paper, glue and tape anymore. The depth of styles, techniques and conceptual references is just amazing. So my initial selections process was really about finding a group of artists that best reflected this diversity and could project cohesive point of view. What I discovered along the way was an overwhelming sense of mystery and uncertainty within the work, a sensibility that seems to be everywhere these days. Collage and collage artists have always been on the fringe of social and political change and this underlining message really became the unifying connection between the artists, it’s also why I think this exhibition is so important now.
22:Where are most of the artists from? Or is it a large range?
CW:The artists are from all over, a good majority are from the U.S. However there are artists from Spain, Germany, France, UK, Australia, Palestine via Denmark and Brazil. It just goes to show that collage is universal and what’s even more awesome is that many of these artists know each other. I think this diversity also speaks to how interconnected everything has become and really reinforces the overall message behind the show.
22: Where did you hear of most of them?
CW: Some I had already know of or shown with before like James Gallagher, Julien Pacaud, Eduardo Recife and Kareem Rizk. I found many of the artists on Flickr and a few through recommendations from other collage artists. When you do collage you find out quick that the community is small and everyone knows each other. For a while there I had people emailing me out of the blue saying “Hi my names is so and so and I do collage too, can I be in the show?” Which is awesome but also sad because collage artists often have fewer opportunities to show.
22: How did you get involved with Picture Farm?
CW: Jen Galatioto from Ugly Art Room was really instrumental in finding them, I believe it happened by accident while she was out roller blading one day. She saw the space, fell in love and rolled on in there and asked if they’d be into a hosting show, amazingly they were. Everyone at Picture Farm has been so wonderful to work with, this show really wouldn’t have happened with out their generosity and support. Plus the concept of a collage show in a photo studio, with it’s roots in Photomontage could not be a more perfect venue. It really brings some historical context to the show while showcasing what Ugly Art Room is all about.
22: With Ugly Art Room?
CW: I’ve know Jen for a few years now, I love her fearless spirit. We’ve always talked about doing something together, so I just pitched her the idea over the Summer and from there it all just fell into place. It just sort of happened really, ironically like a collage!
About the Show
From its abstract roots in Cubism to the political and counter culture movements of Dada and Punk, collage has always been a product of its environment. With the rise of 24 hour media cycles, social networks and search engines, contemporary culture has effectively rendered print media obsolete, creating a virtual boom in discarded paper ephemera for collage artists to examine and reinvent. Through these discarded remnants collage artists have become the archivists and activists of this post modern age, paralleling the frenetic pace in which we live while exposing the voyeuristic and often disjointed nature of popular culture.
From this cultural and historical foundation All That Remains will act primarily as a bridge between the past, present and future, while surveying contemporary collage through a select group of 25 artists exploring a variety of techniques and formats. Each artist however will be asked to submit work based loosely on the following metaphors: memory, obsession, connections, disenchantment and revelations. These curated themes will provide the necessary conceptual framework while presenting a deeper examining of both collage, its conceptual heritage and the analogous sensations created by modern expectations. (READ MORE)