"There is hardly a concept that provides a more universal definition of the conditions and opportunities offered by our era than that of collage." -Werner Spies
A meta-medium steeped in an awareness of its own visual culture - collage as a cultural lens and visual art practice is investigated through the works presented with IN SITU. A Latin phrase meaning “on site” or “in position”, IN SITU is a term used across scientific and artistic fields to reference an event where it takes place, and its context of origin. Analogue cut-and-paste, photographic realism, repeated patterning, and world-building are some of the tactics employed by the four Canadian artists featured in this exhibition; Aimée Henny Brown, Julia Kreutz, Jessie McNeill and Tristesse Seeliger. Emerging out of practices of collecting and observing, IN SITU is an exhibition of works exploring the concept of site.
Densely saturated, richly sourced and multifaceted, collage challenges the capacity of a single-source image to represent contemporary understandings of place. If we concede that the multitudes of meaning surrounding ‘place’ cannot be captured adequately by a lone document, we must consider that methods of image-making must now reflect plurality, collection, and assemblage. Employing collage as a vehicle for these considerations, Brown, Kreutz, McNeil and Seeliger examine concepts of space and the multi-verse, shelter and world-building, documentation of the every day and observed identity and consciousness. With practices motivated by layering, repurposed imagery, and mixed media, their works cultivate dialogues of query and wonder regarding complex concepts.
The four artists of IN SITU work with collage as a strategy to address contemporary notions of place and being. The desire to rework, replace, and compose from fragments formulates a potent line of inquiry for both the maker and the viewer of analogue collage: is a single origin image capable of representing contemporary concepts of place? An isolated origin picture proves its own inadequacy in a time of multitudes. As a medium, collage challenges historical notions of singular artistic genius, overtly and brazenly acknowledging the power and potential of collaboration. The collage works presented in IN SITU challenge principles of historical accuracy, unique time and place, and invite the viewer to interpret images for the first time, again.