Book Review: Masters: Collage
Masters: Collage: Major Works by Leading Artists curated by Randel Plowman. (2010). New York: Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co, Inc. ISBN 978-1-600-59108-2
Featured Collage Artists: Clare Murray Adams, Ariel, David Bircham, Mariella Bisson, Michelle Caplan, Cristina Clarimon, Liz Cohn, Stephanie Dalton Cowan, Lynda Frese, Marty Gordon, Alice Harrison, Mary Emma Hawthorne, Joyce Hill, Robert Hunt, Cindy Iverson, Janet Jones, Hope Kroll, Marilyn Landau, Nancy Goodman Lawrence, Mark Lazenby, Stephanie Levy, Peter Lewis, Julie Mader-Meerson, Robert Mars, Michael Mew, Nicole Natri, Dennis Parlante, Lynne Perrella, Kim Printz, Launa Romoff, Matthew Rose, Baby Smith, James Michael Starr, Brandi Strickland, Jonathan Talbot, Cecil Touchon, Mitzi Trachtenberg, David Wallace, Donna Watson, Lynn Whipple
Masters: Collage: Major Works by Leading Artists is a piece of art in and of itself. It contains beautifully rendered visual images of the works by each featured artist and simple quotes which represent the thoughts and, sometimes artistic intentions, of the individuals included in the book.
Plowman begins the book with a short introduction expressing personal enthusiasm for collage, which started in an art class more than twenty years before the book was written. Collage, as Plowman states, "embraces just about every conceivable material and creative technique." Yet, some collages and their artists are more successful than others. embodying "strong composition skills, a definite sensibility regarding the use of materials, and an innovative approach to the organization of visual components." In selecting artists to include in Masters: Collage, Plowman considered over 200 candidates and narrowed the field to 40 with an eye toward innovation, personal vision, and creative practices.
For each artist included in the book, Plowman gives a short description and critique of the work before including a few pages of imagery. The text is limited to descriptions of the work, with 2 or 3 quotes from each artist. One of my favorites quotes was by Robert Hunt:
"Originality doesn't mean making something that's completely new; nothing is completely new. Originality means bending and shaping what's come before until it belongs to you." (p. 59).
I find words to review this book fail me somewhat. Not because I don't have thoughts about the it, but, rather because the book is meant to be looked at, pondered, and enjoyed without extraneous commentary. It is obvious the collage artists included here are, indeed, masters of their craft. Their work speaks for itself.
Have you read this book? Tell me what I've got wrong (or right!).
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