Stephen Aldrich: Collages
September 9 - October 23, 2010
Opening Reception: Thursday, Sept 9, 6-8 pm
Foley Gallery is pleased to announce our second exhibition with collage artist Stephen Aldrich. We have selected 10 black-and-white paper collages which he meticulously cuts from existing Victorian era woodcuts and steel engravings. Aldrich selects imagery from a variety of books including science, religion, mythology, art and travel. Engravings by the anonymous or the famous (Dürer’s Knight, Death and the Devil, 1513) make an appearance. The obsessive quality of his work is a hallmark of his composition. The way in which cut shapes of contoured paper are rhymed and repeated with the imagery creates a pattern unique to each composition, alluding to his rich personal history of creating his own musical scores.
There is an affinity to Surrealism evidenced in the juxtaposition of dissimilar or incongruous source material. However, there is neither intention nor attempt to reveal the inner workings of the subconscious as the Surrealist Max Ernst might have done in his own collages. The methodology which Aldrich employs is more akin to Jess Collins or to Leonardo and the Renaissance sensibility of the workings of the universe or Eastern philosophy in the recognition of the connectedness of all things. The idiosyncratic logic of layering creates a language that would seem more likely perpetuated by an outsider artist if it were not for the knowledge that Aldrich studied music composition for piano and that his father was a high school mathematician.
Stephen Aldrich (b. Westfield, MA 1947) received his degree from Prescott College, Arizona in 1969, where he befriended the artist Frederick Sommer who became a lifelong influence for him until Sommer’s death in 1999. It was Sommer who first asked Aldrich to cut out engravings for him so that he could make his own collages. It wasn’t until 1989 that Aldrich made his very own collage. It was made from a 19th century issue of Scientific American which announced the invention of the incandescent light bulb.
Stephen Aldrich continues to live in Prescott, Arizona in a house which Sommer gave him, and devotes most of his time to making new collages from old engravings.