I've been thinking about what it means to create a collage; to take papers, cloth, diverse scraps from the mind's eye and bring them all together in order to create something new and heretofore undiscovered. In other words, to create new territory where there was none.
During this time, I've been listening to Divisidero, by Michael Ondaatje, in the studio and as I drive to work. The novel is a pastiche of exquisitely drawn characters, connected to each other in inextricable but mysterious ways. He uses the metaphor of collage to describe their connections:
"Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border that we cross."
It makes sense to me, this notion. As I make my way across the collage I'm working on, I encounter shadows of several patients I've worked with, a memory of filtered autumn light through studio windows and my earnest musing about appropriate titles. The name of a former piece echoes through several years, to me, this Virgo and I glue layer after layer of myself and my history onto a large and heavy panel. I listen to Ondaatje's words:
"Only the rereading counts, Nabokov said...For we live with those retrievals from childhood that coalesce and echo throughout our lives, the way shattered pieces of glass in a kaleidoscope reappear in new forms and are songlike in their refrains and rhymes, making up a single monologue. We live permanently in the occurrence of our own stories, whatever story we tell. "
What a pleasure it is to be back in the studio again, cutting and pasting cloth and words.