Most of my recent collages are resolutely abstract but this piece strongly references weather; dark skies, brooding clouds and passing storms. There is a tumultuous sense of weather in Melanie Thon's exquisite piece of prose poetry and I feel that my collage reflects something of that. The drama that is endlessly and repeatedly unfolding in The Good Samaritan appears to take place against a backdrop of monumental natural forces; not just thunder and lightning, but "black holes humming in space, fourteen billion years of sound". I'd like to think that my collage has a little of this sound; at least that of lashing waves and turbulent skies.
I am attracted to the equality within Melanie's piece. "What being is unworthy?" she asks, "who here is not perfect?" Nature teaches us that flora and fauna, wildlife and weather exist and function oblivious to human morality. In recent years I have been making collage using the most forsaken, weathered and discarded pieces of paper that I can find. These fragments are offcuts, remnants, but they are not "unworthy" of attention and not without their own beauty and dignity.
As a piece of writing, The Good Samaritan uses strong rhetorical devices, such as the repetition of ideas and lists of natural phenomena ; "lava, gneiss, quartz, granite" or ""scorpion, wasp, catclaw, cholla" which give power to the imagery and reinforce the rhythmic quality of the writing. I often use grids in my collage, as organizing criteria, for the same purposes. Each segment is a variation on a theme, the addition of rows and columns adding a cumulative effect, the repetition reinforcing each individual element.
It was a great pleasure and challenge to respond to such a powerful piece of writing.
"Passing Storm" (painted paper collage, 2015, 5" x 5")
Andy Burgess is a London born painter, collage artist and sometime photographer now living with his family in Tucson. Burgess is known for panoramic cityscape paintings, renditions of modernist and mid-century architecture and elaborate mosaic-like collages made from vintage ephemera collected over many years. He describes these as “Pop Geometry” referencing a golden age of American advertising and graphic design from the 1930’s to the 1960’s with its witty typographic flourishes and stylish Art Deco influences. The geometric impulse in the collage and painting reflects an ongoing fascination with early Twentieth Century art movements such as Bauhaus, Cubism and Russian Constructivism.
Represented for many years by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery in London and more recently by galleries in San Francisco, Laguna Beach, New York and Tucson, Burgess’s work can be seen at many prestigious international art fairs, including Art Miami and Art Hamptons. In January 2012 Burgess had his first museum show at The University of Arizona Museum of Art. He has subsequently exhibited at The Laguna Art Museum in California. In 2014 Burgess had his first solo New York gallery show at Site 109 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Burgess has completed many important commissions for public and private institutions including Crossrail (London’s largest ever engineering project), Cunard, APL shipping, Mandarin Oriental Hotels and most recently a new medical centre in San Jose, California.
Burgess’s collectors include the Booker prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro, actor and writer Emma Thompson, the Tisch family in New York and Richard and Ellen Sandor in Chicago, who have one of the top 100 art collections in America.