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Female collage artists who make the cut
One of the joys of collage as a medium is that the resulting image takes on the depth and meaning of the materials it uses. Whether that’s archival prints, fashion magazines, or newspaper cuttings, every single choice made by the artist is a deliberate one. This is perhaps one of the reasons why Victoria Topping’s work sings so much (we’re also big fans of her Grace Jones series). Topping often uses materials from her previous works, and in the work above – Mother Nature – she used only images of flowers that she had grown in her allotment, as a personal celebration of nature. Each collaged piece is deeply personal for the artist and holds in it something special. The materials become resonant throughout the process as well as in the final piece.
You might well recognise visual artist Rosanna Webster’s work. She is hugely popular in the world of fashion and her work graces the covers of magazine and advertising campaigns full of bright young things. Dior, Givenchy and Nike are among her clients and it’s easy to see why her work attracts attention. It’s striking and impactful, yet there’s also a delicacy to it – florals feature heavily in her pieces. Nature plays a significant role in modern collage across a variety of artists – the theme of recreation is a common one. Webster’s work also graces the hardback edition of Edward St Aubyn’s Double Blind, about three close friends during an extraordinary year of transformation.
In her ongoing series ‘Seeing Ourselves’, London-based artist Sharon Walters explores the underrepresentation of Black women and creates pieces that encourage “Black women to take up space”. Her mixed-media collages are created using images from women’s magazines, as well as photographs that she’s taken herself. Each new work depicts a Black woman and is a personal and public celebration of natural beauty and afro hair. Her provoking pieces reframe the visual role of Black women, and offers an alternative role of empowerment while at the same time questioning traditional beauty standards and oppression.
Rather than sourcing different materials for her collages, Olivia Pilling creates her own. She starts by painting pieces of paper in different shades and uses those as her palette, letting herself be guided by the array of tones and brushstrokes that jump out at her. Then it’s a case of “making sense” of each piece – a process that she likens to a jigsaw puzzle. As she cuts and builds her pieces, a depth and richness begins to form in her designs. The shadow and light that comes out in the layering is particularly noticeable on these red and white radishes.
It’s not easy to make a popular landscape look fresh and modern, but Kent-based artist Christine Hodson really nails it. Her work really makes you like twice – at first it looks like it’s oil painting using heavy brushstrokes, but they’re actually a mix of collage, pastel and oil paint. They’re placed over one another to create bold depictions of the Kentish coastline. With “elements of street art and punk ethics”, Hodson’s unique method creates movement and richness, giving classic scenes like the white cliffs of Dover a brand new look.
This weekend, Laura is going to the seaside and Sian is getting the sausages on for her first-ever barbecue. Like what we do? Buy us a cuppa.