Breathe Through This #1, #2, #3

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art--Some Assembly Required: Collage and Assemblage

This week the Daily Palette is celebrating Some Assembly Required: Collage and Assemblage at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (CRMA). This exhibition, which runs through January 26, 2014, takes a look at the breadth and depth of collage and assemblage, especially in the hands of American artists.

In the 19th century, before the emergence of the term collage, the gluing together bits of paper—tickets, photographs, printed texts—was largely a craft, a technique used for scrapbooks and other domestic memorabilia. In the early 20th century, however, European artists such as Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso started to incorporate bits of paper into their paintings, elevating the activity of collage into a fine art. Collage was born. Assemblage, the three-dimensional equivalent of collage, was not far behind.

Both collage and assemblage art began as a radical new way of art-making, turning its back on more traditional practices of painting and sculpting. Collages and assemblages evoke a delight in everyday things and a somewhat subversive attitude toward the "established" art world. The use of non-art materials, or even junk from the everyday world, often evokes a rawness, and occasionally poetic, qualities.

Some Assembly Required features the work of many Iowan artists, such as Grant Wood, Mauricio Lasansky, Chuck Barth, and many more. Some of the works on view date back to the 1920s, near the origin of the technique. Others demonstrate the long-lasting impact of these early experiments on multiple generations of artists. In each artist's hands, however, collage and assemblage take on a different form, reflecting each artist's unique vision.

Breathe Through This #1, #2, #3, acrylic and Duralar on cradled panel, 2011

Museum purchase and gift of the artist, 2011.087.1-.3

Mary Zeran comes from a creative family. Her mother and grandmother introduced her to making things at an early age, and she has continued this tradition by exploring the mediums of collage and painting.  Her work has been shown nationally and is included in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the University of Iowa, The University of Iowa Hospitals, and Younker's Department Stores.  Zeran earned her MFA in Metalworking and Jewelry from the University of Iowa in 1991 and she now lives and works in Cedar Rapids.  In addition to her website below she maintains a blog at featuring recent activities and other Iowan artists.

Mary Zeran's website

Image and exhibition summary courtesy of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art

This page was first displayed
on January 17, 2014

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