Herding Chaos

     Richness and raw beauty of the accidental, in the tempo of visual variation overload. 

    Durango artist Joan K. Russell’s new work employs an assemblage of found papers, and painted rice papers, and cardboard brought together through a process of chance and manipulation. With an abstract style, Russell’s works are a compositional play with ideas of discordance, and harmony within the context of time and history.
    The collage process differs so much from the painting process.
Painting has, pretty much, one direction. Collage, on the other hand, can move forward, and move backwards.You can “undo” with collage.  This allows so much experimentation because if you don't like something, you can just try again . The layering process in collage becomes a game of strategy. The “accidental” can work magic.
    In collage it's also very important which materials are chosen because that is a big part of the where the interest lies. These pieces combine a variety of materials. Transparent rice paper, linen, monotypes, old wallpaper, and painted rice paper, mounted on paper or canvas.
    My process also includes the organic nature of working on a dozen pieces at one time where parts migrate back-and-forth from one piece to another, or divide. Sharing parts from each other they end up knitted together. From large scraps to small ones. They are fresh, no forcing, letting the magic happen by chance, and capture it, and preserve it. 

    My goal was to assimilate diversity, weaving it to make sense as a whole. My process is defined by this goal. If myself, as the “artist”,  is interwoven as a part of this universe, then I must treat my process “selflessly”. For my will cannot force itself but must work in tandem with a natural progression. This means doing the dance with the accidental, bringing forth surprise and delight out of form and abandon. Moving in tandem with the organic nature of the physical, respecting gravity and using materials “at hand”.  It is a responsiveness on my part to the will of the materials. Freedom, frozen in time, in search of beauty.

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