Collage gets sticky: GLUE at the Down Arts Centre in Downpatrick

By Jenni Davidson | 10 April 2013

Exhibition preview: GLUE, Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, until May 4 2013

A collage of a building with three round domes on the roof
Brendan Jamison, The Spy Globes of Teufelsberg [Field Station Berlin] (2012). Collage© Brendan Jamison
Talk of cutting and pasting immediately brings to mind editing a document in Microsoft Word or, thinking more literally, primary school assignments deploying a tube of Pritt Stick and a pile of old magazines rather than hard-hitting contemporary art.

A group of artists in Northern Ireland, though, are challenging this preconception.

GLUE is an international exhibition at the Down Arts Centre exploring contemporary trends in the art of collage. It’s as far from children’s pictures and scrap books as you can get.

A abstract collage
Bethany Taylor, Everything Must Go #1 (Total Liquidation) (2013). Mixed media digital collage.© Brendan Jamison
With themes ranging from political activism, gender issues and the architecture of espionage to failed futurist ideologies and the history of light in art and theatre, this is assemblage for adults.

Collage is usually either decorative or preparatory, often employed by artists as a means of working up concepts and ideas for other works - mood boards of pictures and shapes that explore possible themes, colours and composition.

These experimantal works never make it into the public eye, as they are replaced by the finished painting, drawing, sculpture or installation.

GLUE recognises this important function of collage, with around half the works being preparations created as plans for other pieces.

The other half are fully-realised artworks in their own right, demonstrating the range of media used in contemporary collage, including traditional paper, photography and digital manipulation.

There are 19 artists represented in GLUE, including Shiro Masuyama, Tea Mäkipää, Sean Miller, Patrick Colhoun, Ciaran Magill and Brendan Jamison.

Nine of the artists come from Northern Ireland and the other ten from Japan, Finland, America and the Republic of Ireland, making this a truly global examination of collage today.

  • Down Arts Centre, Irish Street, Downpatrick. Open 10am-4.30pm (closed Sunday). Admission free.

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More pictures:

A collage of a a man, a dog and a horse
Trevor Wray, In a Field (2012). Photographic collage© Brendan Jamison
A collage featuring strips of tape and female nudes
Ciaran Magill, Fragile [iii] (2013). Mixed-media collage© Brendan Jamison
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