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Mark Strand: Collages

05.24.2017 – 06.30.2017

Exhibition Summary

Mark Strand (1934–2014) was widely recognized as one of the great American poets of his generation. Between 2011 and 2014, he produced a remarkable series of collages using handmade and hand-colored papers. Modest in scale and often deceptively simple, the works reward careful and extended looking. Semitransparent layers gradually reveal subtle depth of field, while seemingly casual details coalesce into surprisingly precise compositions. Strand described his initial forays into collage as “an escape from making meaning,” a shift from a “verbal sense” to a “visual sense,” a form of thinking that he regarded as independent of language. But his collages are not entirely unmoored from history or divorced from his poetry. His sensitivity to the possibilities of color can be attributed to the early influence of Josef Albers, with whom he studied at Yale. And his embrace of chance and accident links the collages to the Surrealist tradition that also inspired many of the Abstract Expressionist painters whose works are clear historical antecedents. As Francine Prose noted in a 2013 essay on the collages, “the writing and the visual art are clearly the work of the same person, marked by qualities as unique and recognizable as a fingerprint.”

Curated by Jacob Proctor


Exhibition Narrative


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