January 15, 2012

Art Project 52-2. "What's for Breakfast?" collage

Collage, "What's for Breakfast?" by Mary Cartledgehayes. 40" x 24. 2012. Deconstructed cereal boxes on canvas.

Detail photo, "What's for Breakfast?" by Mary Cartledgehayes, 2012.

The story behind the completed photo:  This collage has been in the works for several years. I was cutting up cereal boxes to use as the base for mail art, and eventually I began cutting out the solid blocks of color on the boxes as well. The canvas is one Mary Flowers gave me. She'd bought it at Goodwill for $2 as an unfortunate abstract in burgundy and browns. Mary, who often works in textiles, covered the piece with tan suede and added circles and nature-oriented trims. When I admired it a few years later, she told me I could take it home.

The fiber piece remained on my wall for months before it began to lose its zing. I decided to utilize Mary's "take what is and learn what it can become" method.  I worked consistently for a month and then returned to the piece every few weeks.  Last year I gave up.  I simply didn't know what to do next.

This week I was determined that this collage would be Art Project 52-2.  I began by painting the outside edges navy blue. Then yesterday my friends Susan and Kenny came to visit.  She said, "Show me your new art," and I presented the piece for observation and commentary.

"I stopped because I didn't know how to finish it."

We batted around potential additions (a silver spoon, a school-size milk carton) to emphasize the cereal-box origins of the collage, but in the end Susan and Kenny agreed that I didn't know how to finish the piece because it was already complete.

Trusting their judgment, I added just a few more bits later in the evening, primarily the few long thin pieces scattered at odd angles. Those pieces turned out to be the surprise that satisfies.

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