The Art of Found Objects

Wednesday 2 August 2017

By Ashley Lumb

About this Curation

The transformation from old to new holds interest for many artists. The following group of Bluethumb artists re-use materials, elements, and textures to create new art forms. Some of the works take on a dystopian feel, while others explore issues of identity and self-portrayal, and many of them incorporate the use of collage in their work.

Collage, as an artistic medium, took its roots from the European Dadaist’s in the early 20th century. It started in Germany in 1916 and lasted a mere four years. Historically, the invention of the collage preceded Dada by several years, however, there has been no group that has been better known for this technique than the Dadaists. Artists from this movement are known for their use of readymade objects and everyday materials that could be reconfigured and presented as art with little manipulation by the artist.

The term collage derives from the French word papier collés (or découpage) and describes the act of making paper cut-outs and pasting them onto new surfaces. Within Dada, John Heartfield, George Grosz, and leading member Hannah Hoch broke free from the traditions of fine art and embraced the photo montages which were the primary expression of the German Dadaists. These artists often started with a theme and then found photographic images from magazines and photographs to complete the composition. The work was often witty, satirical, political, and explored social values and even complicated sexuality issues at the time.

This energetic and productive movement has continued to influence modern artists ever since. In this selection, artists repurpose, in different ways, found materials to create work that is graphically exciting and sometimes dig deeper into societal roles. Leah Mariani explores issues surrounding burkas and puts a personal touch on her work ‘Mistaken Identity’, while ‘Pressure for Beauty’ is a bold, mosaic-like portrait by Victor Mancilla, and ‘Worm Threading’ by Keren Rubinstein is an abstract commentary on Asian women workers.

Have a look at this selection and all of the work of these artists, feel the textures, notice the rigorous, yet fun arrangements, and select work that fits your personal style.

About the Curator

Ashley is an American curator and art historian and has an M.Litt in the History of Photography from the University of St. Andrews. She has worked as a Curatorial Assistant for the British Museum and as a Research Affiliate at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. Since 2012 she has been independently curating photography exhibitions in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia with her curatorial collective Hemera. She is also the founder of the London and New York Photography Diaries.

75cm (W) x 75cm (H)
Magazine paper and decoupage medium on canvas
91cm (W) x 91cm (H)
Acrylic on canvas
75cm (W) x 110cm (H)
ink and collage on vintage book pages
100cm (W) x 100cm (H)
collage, charcoal, magazine cuttings, recycled paper, acrylic
56cm (W) x 76cm (H)
Watercolour, pen, pencil and collage on Arches 300 gsm paper
120cm (W) x 90cm (H)
Acrylic paint, surfboard magazine and paint pens on Canvas
25cm (W) x 35cm (H)
Oil on vintage sewing pattern instruction sheet with collaged sewing pattern envelopes from the 1960s.
59cm (W) x 84cm (H)
Collage and Oil on Canvas
60cm (W) x 75cm (H)
Acrylic and collage (silk, cotton, hessian) on stretched canvas
56cm (W) x 76cm (H)
Paper collage and matte gel on wood panel
76cm (W) x 56cm (H)
Mixed Media made from oil pastel, collage and photography that is printed as Lambda on Kodak Metallic Photographic Paper mounted on aluminium support
133cm (W) x 149cm (H)
Hand-dyed, pieced and quilted fabric.
30cm (W) x 35.5cm (H)
Acrylic on feather framed ready to hang
45cm (W) x 60cm (H)
Acrylic paint and shellac on bass wood panel
60cm (W) x 90cm (H)
Paper and glue on particle board
29cm (W) x 42cm (H)
Fineliner and magazine cutout on paper
122cm (W) x 122cm (H)
Oil painting on canvas and assemblage of branches and little root
20cm (W) x 20cm (H)
acrylic paint & collage on wood board
19cm (W) x 27cm (H)
Collage, watercolour, coloured pencil and on paper. This work is already framed as it was recently exhibited. The framed size is 32 x 42
20cm (W) x 20cm (H)
acrylic paint & collage on wood board