21st Century Collages

Joe Thomson, Artist, 03.29.2013 Page 1 of 2

The “big ART” collages are composed of master originals, on cartridge paper, which are then combined with cut papers to create the 21st century, color collages that emulate the rapid, instantaneous “shuttering” of images that every viewer is accustomed to using mobile devices and watching digital, display technologies.

The significant difference between the two modes of image presentation, expressed by a physical art image and an electronic digital image, is that the scissor-cut papers of a collage are artistic transformations created by the artist. Instead of digital shuttering of rapidly changing TV images, art collages of the 21st century are “still life”, real creations where the viewer personally moves his or her eyes, camera-like, scanning in many directions across the cut shapes and cut edges of the abstract collage itself.

And every time the viewer looks, a new viewing experience is engendered, since the human eye drifts with a different orientation every time across the frame. The combination of eye contacts and paths of visual exploration even defeat the viewing experience of the artist, himself. The still image will always continue to shed new light on itself! The art works’ 6 cents outlasts the sixth sense of all financial gain!

The viewer indeed, in a surprising reversal, becomes the “camera”, in blinking, clicking, snapping, scanning, panning and closing-in and zooming into the sub-images of collage to explore the sometimes unyielding, abstract landscapes of this transformative, abstract art that expresses reality.

The decade of 1910 marks the centenary, in 2010, of the beginnings of collage in Ceret, South of France by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, in 1911. The instinctive application of a torn section of a wallpaper pattern by Georges Braque to the painting canvas was an inspired act, since, that meant the true assertion and confirmation of reality in art with no uncertain pretence at illusion!

 If Cezanne painted his father in a chair reading the newspaper “L’Independent”, why “paint” the masthead name of the newspaper instead of buying the paper and sticking the truly genuine lettering of the newspaper’s masthead to the canvas itself!

Georges Braque’s father was an interior decorator and young George decided that instead of painting a decorative background that looked unreal, why not tear the wallpaper accordingly and just stick it to the canvas and make it truly “real” and not imitation. Picasso agreed and followed his lead.

This “real presence” quality conferred by the art of modern collage introduces the possibility of an intellectual, social voice in art of the 21st “coming of age” in art.





21st Century Collages

Joe Thomson, Artist, 03.29.2013, Page 2 of 2


Some of the big ART collages featured on the website reflect on social themes having national, religious and philosophical subjects indicated by the titles of the works of art below:


1. Spider Eye ( the viewer’s eye bounds at the speed of light from building to building)

2. Shock and Awe ( the Heraclitan “fire” evokes  the awesome terrors of modern war)

3. Blue Planet (the social awareness of the profusion and beauty of the creatures of Nature)

4. Halcyon Repose (the philosophical “Return of all Knowledge”, to the Chrystoa  itself)

5. Life on Mars (figment of the American exploration by Curiosity on an inhospitable planet)

6. The Spotted Prawn ( a reprise of Gilles, Watteau’s fragile,” Commedia del’ Arte” persona)

7. Night Crossing (the fated  watery crossing to a Hades-like, Stygian Land of Shadows)

8. Taurus Constellation ( the private, social, national challenge of an alluring Conquest of space)


Note: Only the collages numbered:  # 1, 2, 5 and 8 are presently shown on the website. Others will be added as the occasion permits in the future.

The flexible versatility of the 21st century collage re-establishes the authenticity and visual power of the artistic image in a modern, social context. Collage employs, just as in 1910, the preferential choice of real material over imitation.

The ability of collage to speak about social matters affecting and afflicting the world derives from its convincing the eye and mind of the viewer of its reality by its evidentiary appeal, based solely on the truth of visual representation.