“Murals are nothing more than Big Collages with a bit of history/story tossed in.” That’s what entered my brain this afternoon.
That’s my insight for the day (week, month, year?).
Hence, Thomas Hart Benton:
Thomas Hart Benton, City Activities with Subway, 1930, from hisÂ mural at the New School for Social Research, now in the lobby of the AXA building at 1290 Sixth Ave in NYCÂ (from Terminartors.com and from Wikipedia.)
I have actually done this kind of “collaging/mural) in a textile landscape:
Goose Rock is a landmark in the John Day Fossil Beds area, rising along the John Day River. The collage was painted and printed from photos which present a variety of perspectives. The history here is geological rather than cultural, but I intended for the “story” to be present in my presentation.
“Circling”, the oil painting in the last post, is also a collage with a story of an in-between street, neither residential nor commercial, a street in which vehicle traffic ignores everything but itself.
Neither of these is a Big Collage, but the principles of composition are the same. Benton has a highly sophisticated understanding of the “mural” process — how it works to achieve a sense of representation and complication, while containing the materials in a unified composition. I’ve been taking notes from his autobiographies over the last few days and woke this afternoon with the insight that started this post.
Forgive my excitement, but this feels like a breakthrough insight for my own working processes. It might give me the insight into the elements of the art that I like making as well as how to achieve some things I’ve previously achieved mostly by accident. It may strike some of you as a “duh” moment (“I always knew that”) but for me, it’s definitely a breakthrough.
I suppose I could call this a “mash-up” and really feel like I’ve reinvented the wheel!