The History of Collage / Photomontage: Eva Lake/ 1978 - 2017
Before I ever collaged, I collected old magazines and nostalgia.
I read them cover to cover and eventually I cut them up to create my own stories. This webpage is a taste from 1978 onwards, mostly the old stuff.
My first collages were made in high school, the early 70's. I was looking at Interview, Richard Hamilton and Pop Art.
Plus like many teenage girls I also devoured magazines aimed at beauty and fashion.
I didn't get really serious about collage until the punk era. My work was made for Xeroxed fanzines and punk posters.
By that time I knew about Dada, having seen Dada and Surrealism Revisited at the Hayward Gallery in 1978.
My heroes then were John Heartfield, Hannah Hoch and Man Ray. They still are.
In the early 80s the work, like the music subculture of the time, took a turn towards New Romanticism.
I worked in a record store in San Francisco and my work was influenced by music
and old novels.
Over the years I've made all kinds of work - painting, drawing, music, dance, performance - but collage/photomontage is the most constant.
I've called it a Bedroom Art as often that was the only place I had to work in. I completely relate to the "Cut with a Kitchen Knife" idea.
You can make it out of a suitcase. I was never one to just slap things together though and sometimes images traveled around with me for decades before I used them.
It is the medium most about my own life and whatever concerned me at the time - love, labor, style, war, work, loneliness, respect, art.
Because it was so personal and often private, it could survive. And because it often was not shown, it became even more personal.
The work started out as messages to the masses but became more like a diary.
9/11 was oddly a time of regeneration for me. It came at a time when I was re-examining the state of my own art affairs.
Suddenly not alone in paranoia, I returned to previous themes and works I had made years ago had a renewed meaning.
I studied art history at the U of O and it's often played out in my work. An example is The Judd Montages, some of which you see above.
(Another example is "The Marriage," an examination of Carl Andre and Ana Mendieta.)
An ongoing watershed moment are the
famous and complex women in the movie and fashion trades,
begun in 2008.
While working with famous beauty, I also collected a more unknown type. Works from those are called the Anonymous Women.
After exploring the face, I took on the body, the female form, the torso, which
is a big deal in art history.
I found that while the body was interesting, sometimes I didn't even need it. A jacket could say a lot. I called those works Fashion Items and The Torso.
Self Portrait, 1978