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Building a Painting

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Some of my favorite contemporary paintings are in many ways more than just paintings. Quite often they are collages, or assemblages of materials of unrelated objects that help to make the finished artworks look more complex than the simple flat finish created by a typical painting.

For example, Zach Harris makes wooden paintings. Cut, shaped and built up in layers, the pieces operate with the loose precision of a mirage—unfixed to a surface, each singular effect floats just in front of its motivating parts. I love the hypnotic / meditative quality and I have been grateful to purchase and live with some of his work.

The history of collage takes us to a seminal moment in the early 20th century when cubist artists like Picasso were developing a whole new twist on painting via gluing objects to the canvas. Last week, the NY Times shared an amazing piece that walks you through a visual maze of some of the most seminal early collage work. Check it out here.

At One River, we teach across all media and make sure that we explore the nuances of mixed media and collage in our Shuffle classes and Camps. These courses produce projects that are often among the most fun and provide some of the most compelling artistic outcomes because they stretch our students to try new methods and materials that often trigger aha moments.

Painters Paint…they also Build.