BRIEF – Look at the work of The Russian Constructivists and Richard Hamilton who use collage in their work.
(This is part of EXERCISE – FIRST STEPS https://rawtocreativeedge.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/exercise-first-steps-digital-collage-and-evaluation/)
Richard Hamilton – British painter and a collage artist. Many of his collages visually create a 3D room setting with the use of 2D found imagery from magazines and old photographs. What is most appealing to me about his work is the use of mixed media where he uses abstracted areas of images to create flat and/or slightly textured areas of colour and then “superimposes” the images into the picture to bring them to life. This is a simple enough technique but one that I think was probably quite timely to achieve as he had little control over the found images, in terms of being able to change them, and yet his pictures make sense, are in proportion and angles appear correct. He clearly had a good eye for composition.
“Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” is a collage created in 1956 for the catalogue of the exhibition “This Is Tomorrow” in London and was also used in posters for the exhibit which ultimately made this piece of work his most iconic. It depicts items from popular culture during the post war boom days when everyday people were buying homes and the latest items with which to fill them.
I have chosen this image as it relates well to this project as Hamilton revisited his first image from 1956 and remade it as a digital collage in 1992 shortly after he had been introduced to the computer application Quantel Paintbox. For the remaking of this image Hamilton took advantage of the capabilities that a Canon copier had to offer and used it to scan, cut and paste imagery and also print proofs directly from his computer as he worked towards the final composition. The imagery used was again representative of the time, references to the arrival of the digital world in the scanned circuit board for the wall paper and the City man at his desk emphasizing the growing trend of communications technology, the Gulf war as seen through the window (1991) and a small bust of Margaret Thatcher as a reference to her time in Government. He also made a humorous comment visually on the change in attitudes towards sexual genders from 1956 to the then present day by removing the 50’s lady on the sofa and replaced her with the female body builder, the original of course having the male body builder.
One of the founding members of Russian Constructivism and Russian Design is Alexander Rodchenko. He was an artist, sculptor, graphic designer and regarded as the most important Soviet photographer. He is considered to be as one of the most important artists of the 20th century and the most versatile Constructivist artist to emerge after the Russian Revolution. In 1924 Rodchenko turned to photography as his main medium appreciating the flexibility that the camera had to offer and it played well to his interest in art experimentation which led to the start of his photomontage approach to his art.
Having researched these two areas I can start to see the possibilities that digital technology might have to offer but I also know that I would need to keep a textile sensibility in the back of my mind as there is a tendency to steer towards a graphic approach with this process.