The opening reception of Collage featuring the art work of Matthew Best, Matthew Feiner and Margaret Vaughn will be Wednesday, March 16 at the Stockman Gallery at Trinity-on-Main at 19 Chestnut Street in New Britain from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. The show runs until April 22. This is a Program of the Greater New Britain Arts Alliance and Trinity-on-Main.
The very nature of Collage as a process for art making is deconstructive/reconstructive and allows for great freedom to resurrect yet another whole set of imager. This process is one we may all have some memory of from our early childhood as we developed motor skills from grade school — to cut, arrange, paste, and rework images — something quite refreshing given our immersion in a digital age, and worth examination. The 3 exhibiting artists, Matthew Best (Hartford), Matthew Feiner (New Haven), and Margaret Vaughan (New Britain) use iconic ready made images to create original works of art and are among the best examples of artists working in collage in the area.
The artwork of Matthew Best examines one of pops all time diva’s – Madonna. His collages are linear, precise, fiercely layered and repetitive which makes the smallish works powerful well beyond their size. Best recalls “I naively wasn’t aware of Madonna’s status as a gay icon. I didn’t realize that by identifying myself as a Madonna fan, I was in some ways outing myself as gay before I was fully able to really express it. Later on, this is why I have again started making art with images of Madonna, to embrace being gay. To take something I wasn’t fully aware of and celebrate it. To take naive obsession to turn it to outright veneration – I want to take images from my younger years and give them power, to change them.” It is this type of awareness and acknowledgement that allows for deep and meaningful artistic pursuit. The collages that Best represents are strongly iconographic as well as striking and commanding, much like the queen of pop herself, she would be lucky to own such a likeness of herself.
The deeply personal collages Matthew Feiner presents are based on the New York Times from 2002 and are what he calls “origin” pieces as they have become the basis for his artistic vocabulary. Feiner shared his true-life account on his Facebook page, which illuminates a dark time in his life that led to the creation of this series of edgy collages. Feiner states, “back on January 1st of 2002 my fiancé left me and married another man. Suddenly I was homeless and unwanted. I moved into the bike shop, which was just under a year old and hunkered down for the winter. I lived in the storage area of The Shop, which was about 4.5 feet high by 12 feet wide and 8 feet long. I had a hot plate and a cat she had given me to “keep me company”. I didn’t sleep, I watched a lot of movies and ate a lot of ice cream and wondered “why”. I would leave the shop around 4 a.m. every morning and roam the snowed in city. ?At sunrise I would head to Lulu’s and have coffee. ?At this time I began making art using The New York Times.”
Margaret Vaughan’s collages stem from the figure with swirling, sinuous compositions that flow effortlessly.