SIAN ROBERTSON | DAILY ALTERED IMAGE
JUNE 14 - JUNE 20
SATURDAY JULY 17, 7-10PM
Daily Altered Image | A Collage Project for 2016
Around mid-December 2015 I was creatively blocked, unsure of where to go with my art,needing to step outside the box a little. I remembered an exercise, suggested almost a year earlier by Danielle Krysa on her blog The Jealous Curator (and actually suggested to her by artist Trey Speegle) - find a picture you like, photocopy it a bunch of times, take each image and cut it, painT It, fold it, glue it, add stuff to it, take stuff away, alter it in any way you feel so inclined. So I Googled 'fifties woman' and printed many copies of the first image that I found appealing. Then Imade seven collages that afternoon.
And I loved doing it.
And I loved the results.
And I could see what a great exercise this would be as an ongoing project; a way to be creativeyet quick, to have to let go of every single piece being perfectly cut, and tidily glued. A chance to experiment with other media, with no attachment or plan to use it in the future. Basically a wayto give up all my usual art rules and just play for a change. So I decided I'd do lots more pieces based on this one image; but a couple of weeks went by and I still only had the original seven.
On January 1st 2016, on a whim, I posted the first of the seven on Facebook and Instagram, andcommitted to doing that every day for a year. I know that if I put something out there and say I'mgoing to do it then there's no going back, so I was off and running.I did have rules, but just two of them - I had to do the first thing that came into my head, and Ihad to post the result even if I hated it. (I pretty much stuck to the first one, and always stuck tothe second). They are all on vertical 12" x 9" white Bristol paper. They are mostly paper collage (because cutting and pasting is my first love) but there is fabric, embroidery thread, paint,crayons, 3D found objects and even a little print making toward the end, when I realized that thewhole goal of using other media had somewhat fallen by the wayside. Work and other time commitments prevented me from making a piece every single day so sometimes I made severalat once, but I posted one each day, and always in the order in which I made them.
I don't even know who the woman in the image is, but it's been an interesting, challenging, and ultimately joyful experience sharing a year with her.
ROBERTSON WAS BORN AND RAISED IN WALES, IN THE UK, AND MOVED TO AMERICA IN HER LATE 20'S, LIVING IN CALIFORNIA FOR 7 YEARS BEFORE SETTLING ON CAPE COD IN 1999. SHE IS DRAWN ESPECIALLY TO MAPS FOR MANY REASONS: "THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL TO LOOK AT, THEY REPRESENT AREAS LIVED IN AND PLACES STILL TO VISIT, AND I HAVE INCREDIBLY FOND MEMORIES OF LEARNING TO MAP READ AS A VERY SMALL CHILD. I LOVED SPENDING TIME IN THE CAR, WITH ME BEING IN CHARGE OF NAVIGATING OUR WAY HOME. I CLEARLY REMEMBER BEING EXCITED TO PREDICT THAT THERE WOULD BE A RIVER, OR A T-JUNCTION, OR A HOSPITAL A MILE AHEAD, AND BEING THRILLED WHEN IT WAS ACTUALLY THERE. NOW, AS AN ADULT, MAPS GIVE ME A PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL CONNECTION TO A TIME AND PLACE LEFT BEHIND, AND THE REASSURANCE THAT IT MIGHT BE RETURNED TO IN THE FUTURE.
I am a self-taught collage artist originally from the UK, now living in North Truro on Cape Cod. My source materials are mostly paper ephemera, though I occasionally include mixed media components in my work.
I make art from items that were created for some other purpose, now isolated from their original function and given a new, more unique role and a life beyond what was initially intended. It's not about repurposing or recycling, but about seeing everyday things in a different way; often using two or more elements and making them better for being together. When I use different items from different sources I combine their individual histories, and in doing so create a new collective history.
The Postage Portraits characters can be viewed as either hiding their true selves beneath a mask, or finally letting their real personalities shine beyond their conventional magazine faces.
My current map work is an exploration of connections and loss, secrets and hidden truths, what we gain through interactions with other people and places, and what we leave behind.
Maps are of particular interest to me - they are beautiful to look at, they represent areas lived in and places still to visit, and I have incredibly fond memories of learning to map read when I was very young. As a small child I loved spending time in the car, with me navigating our way home. I clearly remember being excited to predict that there would be a river, or a T-junction, or a hospital a mile ahead, and being thrilled when it was actually there. Now, as an adult, maps give me a physical and emotional connection to a time and place left behind, and perhaps a reassurance that it might be returned to in the future.
"We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there." Pascal Mercier (Night Train to Lisbon)
COMMISSIONED WORK IS AVAILABLE. PLEASE INQUIRE AT ADAMPECKGALLERY@GMAIL.COM
THE SIX WORD STORY
Legend has it that sometime in the 1920s, in the bar at the Algonquin hotel in New York City, Ernest Hemingway bet his fellow drinkers that he could write a novel in six words. On a napkin he scribbled “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”, and promptly collected his winnings.
In reality there is much evidence that almost identical stories were written years before that, and little evidence that the Hemingway version came about due to an alcohol induced gamble, or even that he wrote it at all. But urban myth or not, it’s a great story (both the one about the baby shoes and the one about Hemingway) and the succinct simplicity of the concept speaks to me.
When I’m creating my art, whether cutting up maps or combining magazine clippings with postage stamps, I am very conscious of how the stories behind the pieces evolve and become apparent to me. Changing something like the background, or using a different stamp, completely alters the story; and as I move the elements around and try different combinations, one of them just suddenly feels right, and the story feels written.
When I started my recent series of Petite Postage Portraits, smaller versions of work that I’d been doing for a while, I wanted each to have a written story on the back. Given that the art is made up of just three small components - a postage stamp, a magazine clipping, and a background - it struck me that a six word story was the perfect accompaniment to such a tiny piece of art.