Art

Works in Collage  by David Michael Lieb

Background

I find the process of collage to be very intuitive. In my early works it was uncommon for me to start a new piece having a pre-conceived notion of what the work would be about or would become in its finished form. With time, age and experiences, the works have become more deliberate with the process of making becoming an integral part.

In 1987, I started painting on small 4” x 6” hard canvases with a limited color palette. The small works were expressive and impressionistic most notably of the Williamsburg Bank in Brooklyn, NY. Over the course of 25 years the work has transformed from the small canvases into larger pieces with layers of paper collage (recycling packing paper and tissues and newspaper clippings), with layers of acrylic paints and ink washes.

As my work with collage has evolved, I have explored different adhesive methods from basic Elmer’s Glue to varied gel mediums, decoupage mediums and varnishes. The acrylic varnishes yield the most versatility as a decoupage medium and extender allowing longer work with the acrylic paints and washes.

The more recent three-dimensional, layered, shadowbox Collagescapes draw from both old and current sources for visual information but also include newspaper text, a staple of my collage work since the late 1980’s. These small works present layers or snapshots into visual assemblages and CollageScapes that have been described as “wistful.” The CollageScapes often juxtapose Modern and period imagery including humans, nature and architecture. The daily human experience is explored through snapshots of reality, memory, nostalgia, faith and vision. The work invites you, the viewer, to contemplate the inherent contradictions in Modern life, reflecting on your own experiences and landscapes.

A large format 3-D collage incorporating a mannequin to depict “Eve” is making her second appearance in this show. The large format collage depicts “Eve” as independent, resilient, spirited, intellectual, and the “mother of them all” as identified by text on the work. Eve is all women, integral with the five elements depicted through color, blue (water); green (wood); red (fire); yellow (earth); white (metal). A recessed, illuminated, shadow box in Eve’s torso contains scrolls and book of knowledge, Adam’s Rib, and the Golden Apple, the first temptation.

 

Carry On –works by David Michael Lieb

The works presented in “Carry On” are a complex collection of collage works that illuminate everyday experiences or love, betrayal, homesickness and exile, through the lens by which we experience Modern life.  Carrying On is a means to navigate the prism of life, in the presence of the greatest gradations between ecstasies and griefs.

The process of working on the large canvases involves stapling rolled canvas to a large, vertical wall surface, marking out the bounds or size and then performing an initial mapping with a charcoal stick. The mapping is used more to engage the blank canvas (especially if starting a piece without a prepared sketch). When working on small panels, they lay flat on a worktable.

The process, seen in large canvases and small panels, follows a similar process but involves more time searching for subject matter often at public library books sales and newspapers. The cutting process is reflective, quiet, and careful and where a significant portion of the initial intuitive editing takes place. The process to organize compositions, address perspective and light and shadow in 3D that can be composed as 2D layers, develops scenes and landscapes that often have a social message or speak to the nostalgic juxtaposed with the Modern.

The intervention on the canvas or panels begins deliberately then quickly follows more intuitive compositions and relationships of the ideas and ‘characters.’ The works develop frequently by an initial idea that grows out of spread out clippings of text and images cultivated over time and many book sales. Most of the applied materials used in the works are kept in boxes often sorted by size, type, color, periods and landscapes, or sometimes by source, along with newspaper clippings of words and phrases that are also accumulated over time. The text is revealing and meaningful to each work.  Humanistic faces and formal shapes are often visible in the more abstract works.

The triptych comprised of the paintings, “Goodbye Milky Way”, Sitting on the Moon” and “Where are you” chronicles an angel’s fall from the heavens to Earth. “Goodbye Milk Way” illustrates a winged figure in the heavens, descending or starting to fall in the wake of betrayal, with text that reads on one arm “saying of the Oracle, School for Life”, “Awake”; and on the other “someone to change the world”, “tomorrow’s work,” “the too difficult problem.” In “Sitting on the Moon” the falling angel comes more into to focus with wings that no longer support flight surrounded by scenes from history and text, “the odds of redemption”, landscapes, and those that can only watch what unfolds before them with text that reads, “Life’s like that.” In the final painting, “Where are you?” a wingless figure, now human again. Instead of lying prone in humility or adoration to a deity, the now fallen angel looks back to the heavens, watched upon by angels (from historical New England gravestones) and a mourning angel in black. The landscape is abstract, conflicted and contradictory.

The pentaptych, titled “Hiraeth, is comprised of five internal ‘pages’ within a book, viewed back to front.  Hiraeth is often described as a homesickness interconnected with another (a loved one or friend) and a longing for an intangible that can never again be realized. It can perhaps also be described as a form of exile. “Hiraeth” presents the stages of heightened anxiety over the five panels as you start your path on Hiraeth. The front cover illustrates hands reaching down from the heavens in comfort to a starving child while the Earth, an astronaut and what appear to be unrelated characters, shroud the child. The back cover is an audience of adults wearing 3D glasses while frightened and playing children frame the foreground. 

The collages on panels are diverse but reveal common themes of societal ills and contradictions, history intertwined with the present, challenges of Modern life, and juxtaposed faith with diverse peoples. A panel triptych titled “Red, Yellow and Blue” speaks to when my daughter once left a phone message asking how you make those colors. As primary colors, they are the source by which to make others. In the triptych, the “Red” panel the text “A dream out of reach that once seemed their birth right” identifies social and economic inequities prevalent in Modern life. “Yellow” illustrates diverse peoples, cultures, and faiths rejoicing and interdependent. “Blue” juxtaposes images of ‘real life’ with societal ideals. Perhaps the remaining panels could be viewed as the products of a Modern color wheel.  

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      David Michael Lieb, 2018

 

륤ȥ Lؔ ԩ`
륤ȥ󥳥ԩ`
`ѩ`ԩ`
륤ȥ `ѩ`ԩ`
륤ȥؔԩ`
륤ȥ󥳥ԩ`
`ѩ`ԩ`
륤ȥХåԩ`
륤ȥ `ѩ`ԩ`
륤ȥ ԩ`
륤ȥ󥳥ԩ`
륤ȥ ؔ ԩ`
륤ȥХåԩ`
륤ȥ ԩ`
륤ȥؔԩ`
륤ȥХåԩ`
륤ȥ ؔ ԩ`
륤ȥ Хå
륤ȥ ؔ
륤ȥ Lؔ
륤ȥ Хå
륤ȥ ؔ
륤ȥ Lؔ
륤ȥ ؔ ǥ`
륤ȥ Хå Ʒ
륤ȥ Lؔ
륤ȥ ӥͥХå
륤ȥ ؔ ǥ` ˚
륤ȥ Lؔ˚
륤ȥ Хå˚
륤ȥ Хå
륤ȥ Хå
륤ȥ ؔ2017
륤ȥ ؔ
륤ȥ Хå ͨ؜
륤ȥ Lؔ؜
륤ȥ Хå ؜