Warning: Assembly Required Rusty clock gears, a tattered ticket stub, worn doll parts, a key to an unknown and ancient lock, a tin box, a metal wing, a spigot, a sprocket, a spring…You have found yourself in an amazing and wondrous place, surrounded by artifacts bursting to tell a story and creating more questions than providing answers. You are in the studio of an assemblage artist. The assemblage artist creates beautiful, disturbing, whimsical, fascinating, and sometimes frightening pieces of art using worn out, forgotten, broken, discarded, overlooked, and unusual items. Donning the hat of archeologist, anthropologist, tinkerer, treasure hunter, and story teller – the assemblage artist travels from estate sales to old barns, re-use stores to garages and attics – looking for the perfect elements to artfully craft into a work of art. I doubt that Aristotle had assemblage art in mind when he stated, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” However, the adage couldn’t better describe the art of up-cycled and found objects.
Looking at individual pieces, the found objects from treasure hunts – a wing nut, a jar of railroad nails, an old thermometer – are interesting no doubt, but rather meaningless on their own. Mixing, matching, and moving the pieces until it feels right. The objects become unified – meaningful. Five accomplished northwest assemblage artists have come together in an exhibit entitled, “Sacred Scraps.” Tory Brokenshire, Stephanie Brockway, Shelly Caldwell, Jennifer Campbell, and Dayna Collins have created more than a gallery showing of their work, but an exhibit that will take the viewer through the process of creating assemblage art. You will find jars displaying raw materials, clay, metal, tools they use, books that inspire them, and unique finished pieces of art – all incorporated into the display. Artwork will not be for sale through this exhibit, rather it is about the process of how assemblage art is created. The goal of this show, says Dayna Collins, is to “share the love of creating and showing people how what some consider junk can become beautiful pieces of art.” The exhibit runs February 1-28, with an opening reception on Friday, February 1, 4:30-6:30pm in the Hatfield Library on the Willamette University campus. For more information check out www.sacred-scraps.com. If you are curious about assemblage art, working with found objects, or perhaps are afflicted with wild inspiration after seeing the “Sacred Scraps” exhibit, check out the classes offered at Art Department this winter. Both Tory Brokenshire and Dayna Collins have classes coming up. Art Department is located downtown at 254 Commercial ST NE, Salem or visit www.artdepartmentsupply.com to see class offerings online.