I recently saw an exhibit of Romare Bearden's collages at the Newark Museum. While I've not been a follower of his work, I found this show particularly exciting because of its almost innocent and imaginative scope. His collages had musical and family themes, but it was the sense of experimentation that spoke to me most. His collages were large with cut up magazine photos of faces recreating a fractured imagery that came together in a unique kind of reality. What impressed me most was how experimental his work felt. He repeated images by using Xerox copy techniques. He painted, drew and collaged into his large works with the spirit of a story teller.
While I understand how collage artists have the ability to bring a kind of deconstructed reality into their work, it's the idea nothing is sacred, anything goes, that got my attention in Bearden's work. It inspired me to get back into my studio and approach my own work with a whole different mindset. Bearden was not a purist. He used whatever it took and did not restrict his imagery to conventional techniques of his time.
I've written before about why I go to the galleries. This is an example of how I'm affected by what I see. When another artist's work touches me, my own work is better for it. What I took away from this exhibit was the spirit of discovery...the obsessive need to reinvent an old image and make it new again.
I can’t say it enough, in order to grow I have to see what other artists are doing. Good art is contagious.