In my recent collage work I’ve synthesized the historical and personal imagery that has shaped my life as an artist.
After making and exhibiting assemblage boxes for more than a decade, I began working on two-dimensional collages in 1994. I turned to collage so that I could continue working with found images in a different medium. My layered, cumulative process of collaging, sanding, and repainting, leaves room for the kinds of intuitive material and pictorial juxtapositions that can only arise from the unconscious mind.
My new Botanical Series was inspired by antique botanical illustrations from masters of the genre who worked between the 13th to 18th centuries. In my large panels I’ve combined these flower drawings with vintage product labels from Chinese firecrackers, and from apothecary and cigarette paper packaging, syncing their typography and design to the history and character of the flowers.
Juxtaposing the pre-industrial view of nature with the logos and advertising of recent eras, I’ve paired the common and overlooked detritus of various cultures with the classically beautiful.
Michael Mew 2008