Wednesday, April 21, 2010

John Stezaker

The Portland 2010 Biennial at the Templeton Building held a room of work by John Brodie. Brodie is an artist I showed at Lovelake and I’ve always been a fan, but when I came across the heads of hair and faces filled with un-face-like things, I became strangely confused.

That’s because my art mind was already heady with the work of John Stezaker, who has recently been profiled in Artforum and Modern Painters. After a lifetime of montaging, he’s hot, hot, hot. I’ve toyed with the intersection of body + place too but Stezaker masterminds this field so well, so extensively, he owns it.

It’s been said that Stezaker, the “King of Collage,” makes “the simplest” ones. That’s a rare and confident thing, an indication of his emotional ownership in images he mines. I confess that I relate, not just adore and feel encouraged.

Recently someone observed that most photomontage presented an array of scattered images, emphasizing the overabundance and bombardment, whereas I edited and sliced close to the bone. Stezaker slices even closer, often using just two images. The results can be startling, surprising in their simple assault. He lets the landscape invade the individual in ways that seem spiritually inevitable and also painful.

1 comment:

Stephan P. Ferreira said...

Yes! He's also discussed and on the cover of "Appropriation", a cute ditty from the Documents of Contemporary Art Series by MIT.