Lily Landes, Untitled (2011), collage, 6″ x 6″; courtesy of the artist
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Anyone can make a good collage. That’s a friend’s opinion–a joke, really–but I know what she means. The pictorial frisson resulting from the juxtaposition of disparate source materials is all but a given and easier to achieve than when putting oil to canvas or pencil to paper. But just when you think that anybody with a glue stick, scissors and a pile of magazines qualifies as an artist, someone comes along and proves that art is as much about magic as it is about media, that automatic effects don’t count for much if they don’t embody something greater than their means.
What it is that Lily Landes’ collage embodies, I’m not sure. All I know is that within her silky runs of white, grainy textures and precisely orchestrated elements, something uncanny occurs. The image could be read as an evocation of recent events in Japan, but that’s not the case: Landes created the piece weeks before the terrible tsunami hit. I should know–she made it in my class.
Not to fret: I don’t plan on displaying everything my students produce. Besides, I can’t take much credit here given that Lily exhibited a penchant for collage before she signed up for my course. All the same, sometimes a homework assignment is more than a homework assignment. This is one of those times.
© 2011 Mario Naves