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For a long time, I have been thinking about using my own photographs to make collages. I started during the pandemic after finding some pieces I had made in a collage workshop twenty years ago. I used the technique that I had learned in that class and had fun exploring what was, for me, a new form of artistic expression.
Collage is an extremely elastic medium. There is no right or wrong way to make one. I used my own cut-up photographs and snapshots, then placed a color transparency of my own work as the top layer. I experimented without having a specific outcome in mind. Each piece is unique, and the process itself was just fun.
Although I used pictures from my past artwork and family snapshots, the collages are not nostalgic images. As in my black and white photographs from the 1980s, my interest here is the layering of time and space. In those black and white photographs, I layered images directly onto the negatives while they were exposed in the camera. The results were random connections over which I had very little control. In these collages, I do have control over how the images overlap and relate.
Nonetheless, I worked intuitively and did not try to tell a story. The process is a kind of alchemy. I have not given the images titles. Each viewer can define the subject for themselves. As Anais Nin says, “We don’t see things as they are…. we see them as we are.”
Mounted on 11” x 14” Acid Free Watercolor paper.
- Elena Sheehan
© 2023 Elena Sheehan