I have recently been revisiting this form of deconstruction / reconstruction. In the past this process was mostly a way for me to recycle two or more drawings that were so overworked or damaged that they were unable to stand on their own – happy accidents resurrected.
The idea of consciously setting out to create a reassembled painting from two or more autonomous surfaces is not a new one for me, although I have used it rarely. It was inspired by my mixed media instructor at Vancouver’s Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Martin Guderna. Beginning with the creation of several colour fields the process is to tear one and attach it to another with white glue and water. Starting large, the fragments are glued down with an eye to composition combined with rapid intuition. The new combination of surfaces is then subjected to further tearing and gluing until the reassembled piece feels complete as an initial working surface.
The next and final stage is to work into this ‘collage’ with paint, charcoal, pastels etc to the point that it no longer resembles a collage and morphs into a painting. The inevitable breaking away from the traditional rectangle caused by the tearing process means that the outer edges gain new meaning and become an intricate part of the painting instead of a ‘fence’ or frame for it – al la Frank Stella.
Although the elements of automatism and surprise enchant and absorb me every time, I still choose not to use it as a regular working form – no series looming here, (one more only to come). Reassemblage certainly creates fascinating challenges and the emerging work is always something that I would never have conceived through a more traditional process. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has also tried this method of working…