Piece by Piece: Figurative Collage Reception Photos

Piece by Piece Figurative Collage by Megan Coyle

Aside from posting the video of my reception, I thought I’d add a few pictures from the event. The one above is an action shot of my artist talk.

Piece by Piece Figurative Collage by Megan Coyle

The audience during the talk.

Piece by Piece Figurative Collage by Megan Coyle

Yet another angle.

Piece by Piece Figurative Collage by Megan Coyle

I realized that, gasp, I hadn’t shown any images of the food during the show. The day before, as well as the morning of the reception, we were hard at work putting together a few platters. The one above is the cheese platter.

Piece by Piece Figurative Collage by Megan Coyle

This is an unfinished platter that had a mix of food – tortellini, tomatoes with a salmon spread inside of them, and a goat cheese spread on some veggies.

Piece by Piece Figurative Collage by Megan Coyle

The fruit platter minus the yogurt dip that we put in the center.

Piece by Piece Figurative Collage by Megan Coyle

And the veggie platter minus the dip in the center. We also had a dessert platter and a few other items that I didn’t photograph while I was working in the kitchen. It was quite the experience planning everything for this show – from PR to planning the menu, I was grateful for every bit of help I received.

So one solo opening down, one more (at the moment) to go. And later today I get to go to work at my temporary studio after I move in. I can’t wait!

Fisher Gallery Reception Video

My brother, Brendan Coyle, put together a video of the reception for my solo show “Piece by Piece: Figurative Collage” at the Fisher Gallery. Here you can get a good idea of what the show looked like when you walked into the gallery. The exhibit features sixteen of my collages created this year.

Piece by Piece: Figurative Collage Artist Talk

The opening for my exhibition yesterday was a lot of fun. Below I’ve posted a bit of information about my art based on the artist talk I gave:

My work has evolved a lot before it became the body of work that it is today. I started making figurative collages when I was in high school, although back then the pieces were much simpler—I didn’t use as many pieces of paper layered on top of one another. I also used a lot of oil pastels with my work—although I later decided the oil pastels were covering up some of the interesting patterns and textures from the magazine strips.

In college, I studied Painting and Creative Writing, both of which have influenced the artwork for this show. With painting, I became familiar with great painters in art history and took a liking to impressionist and post-impressionist work. I liked working with distinct brushstrokes in my own work because I was more interested in shifts of color than blending colors. As a result, my technique translated well over to collage.

With a background in writing, I’ve always had an interest in stories and storytelling. I wanted to make these scenes look like snapshots from everyday life—like the viewer could eavesdrop on the lives of a few strangers. Also, by showing each scene as a snapshot, the viewers can have their own thoughts on what they think is going on in the collage—what the figures are doing, saying, or thinking.

The Bikers by collage artist Megan Coyle

To give you a brief idea of what my process is like, for each work of art I got started by making a quick sketch. For some pieces, like up-close portrait pieces, the sketch was more detailed since I was concerned with capturing a likeness of the sitter. With collages that show the figure from afar, I had a tendency of making a quick sketch so I’d have an idea of the overall layout.

I use photographs as references for my work—mainly because the collage process can take so long that I wouldn’t be able to catch the immediacy of these scenes if I worked from life. Next, I page through magazines and tear out pages that have the colors and textures that I want to use for a particular piece. Then I typically begin with the background as I cut out shapes of paper and glue them down. Thus the background of the collage is pushed back and really is the background.

By working strictly with magazines, I limit my palette to the colors, textures, and patterns I can find in magazines. I like how flexible the medium is – I wait to varnish my collages until they’re complete, that way I can move around the pieces of paper, pulling up pieces in areas that are overworked.

I really enjoy it when people tell me they think one of my pieces is a painting—that I’ve used acrylic or oil paint. One of the focuses of my work is to push the traditional ideas of what we think makes a painting a painting and a collage a collage by merging the idea of these two mediums together with a technique I call “painting with paper.”

My collage work has been inspired by Chuck Close, a photo realist painter. When you get up close to some of his work, you’ll noticed that he’s worked on a grid, using circles and squares of color that make the piece look like you’ve zoomed in to the pixels of a photograph. I like this concept of taking one medium and making it look like an entirely different medium.

With Gerhard Richter, a German painter, I was really taken by a series of paintings he did that look like photographs—he painted a series in such a way that they featured the imperfections of photographs, the glares and blurriness that the medium can capture. I like the idea of having viewers question the medium I use. I also, in general, like the notion of taking something ordinary, like a magazine, and taking it out of its context by turning it into a work of art.

The inspiration for this particular body of work came from looking back at my previous work and looking at the different directions I could go with it. Previously, I had worked on a series of portraits that had similar compositions—just up-close views of the sitter. With this new body of work, I was really interested in working on showing different angles and narrative scenes. Instead of focusing in on depicting a likeness of the sitters from up-close, I wanted to experiment more with the figures interacting with the environment around them.

In the future, I’d like to create a series that really captures my process. That would include having areas of the collage where the white of the paper shines through, sections of the under-drawing being revealed and overall the shapes of the magazine strips would be more isolated and noticeable. I’m also planning to work on a much larger scale and experiment with animating my collages.

Q & A: Why Art?

While growing up, if I wasn’t taking art classes at a local gallery, I took an art class at school. Art has existed in my life in one form or another, and I’ve grown to look at art as something that’s comfortable to me—it’s something familiar that’s been by my side for years.

I also always loved the arts and when I was younger, I wanted to master drawing, dancing, music, and acting. Thus I attempted all those areas before realizing that visual art was something I didn’t get too discouraged with – I could keep at it. The other areas of art were another story.

In preschool, I took ballet classes. I specifically remember having too much stage fright that I refused to dance at a recital the class held for all the parents. Eventually I danced for a couple of seconds when my mother bribed me with a Slurpee. The problem with dance was that it didn’t feel natural to me. I also didn’t like dancing in front of others, which automatically made me check off dance from my list of creative paths to pursue.

For several years I played the piano. I also picked up the cello briefly in elementary school, but got tired of practicing two instruments. I was also pretty scrawny back then, and my cello probably looked a lot bigger than me. For some reason my peers thought the cello was just a thick block of wood and that I was ridiculously strong for my size. Although I played the piano for seven years, I eventually quit – I didn’t have that passion that drives a musician to learn, practice, and keep trying until she gets it right.

What was next? How about acting? I took acting classes at a local theater when I was in high school. I enjoyed the whole experience – the bright stage lights, putting on stage makeup, the fun costumes, and memorizing my lines until I got them right. I had a blast with the whole production. The problem? I gave up too easily when I realized what I looked like on stage. One of the actors in my group invited us all over to his house after a play. His parents had taped every show he was in, and we watched previous plays we had been in together. I sat there horrified when I realized how terrible my acting was. I swore that I would never expose anyone to my acting again.

Then there was writing. I wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. In elementary school, I carried around little notebooks that I wrote stories in. I was determined to write a complete novel by middle school. When that didn’t happen, I swore I’d finished my first novel in high school. I kept starting stories then getting tired of the direction they were headed in.

I thought I was determined to become a writer, but then I decided to major in English with a concentration in Creative Writing in college. And now, since college, I haven’t written anything since my final Creative Writing class senior year. The writing workshops had sucked the joy of writing from me. It had been a painful experience of students tearing down every piece of writing that was workshopped. By the end of a workshop, I had no idea if I was doing anything right and felt like my writing wasn’t any good. The passion that was once there had faded significantly.

Although I’ve experienced many areas of the arts and gave up on different creative paths, I didn’t give up on the visual arts. I fell into my passion with art in college when I decided to pick up Painting as a second major. Since then, I’ve become more determined and persistent with my art than ever before. Those other areas of the arts that I dabbled in were missing my drive to follow through with them. I was easily defeated and gave up when I deemed them “too difficult.”

Visual art hasn’t been easy either, but for some reason I never wrote it off as being impossible to do. Over the years, I’ve practiced my craft. When I’ve had difficulty drawing something, I’ve kept at it until I’m somewhat satisfied with the result. I can get incredibly discouraged with my art, but I’ve never given up on it completely. I think that’s because I can’t imagine what life would be like if I didn’t make art – that’s not an option for me, “not to make art.” I simply make it, have to make it. It’s something that’s been ingrained in my mind and daily routine.

I’ve chosen art because it’s something I need in my life. It’s hard to explain to non-artists out there, but I know you can understand if you’re passionate about something in particular. If you love to read, or write, or watch movies, and you simply can’t get rid of any of those things from your life, then that is precisely what art is like for me. I can’t imagine ever giving it up. I’ve done it for years, I’ve grown up with it, and I’m terribly curious to see what direction it will take me in next.

Bosty goes to Ireland

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

Bosty wanted to get away for a little while so we went off to see the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

And he didn’t seem the mind the drizzle when visiting some of the area’s castles.

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

Slow down Bosty, don’t get too far ahead when we walk through the park.

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

Look at that, another picturesque photo that he decided to pop into and interrupt.

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

But here he wanted to pose in front of a thatched cottage like any old tourist.

So all in all, it was quite the sightseeing tour.

Piece by Piece: Figurative Collage

The New York Diner by collage artist Megan Coyle
“The New York Diner” Collage on paper. 24″x18″
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May 14th – June 13th, 2010
Fisher Art Gallery; Alexandria, Virginia
Map and Gallery Info

Opening Reception: May 22nd, from 3-5p.m.
Artist Talk: 4p.m.

Megan had one of her first major solo exhibitions, “Piece by Piece: Figurative Collage,” at the Fisher Art Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia. The Fisher Art Gallery is located in the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, on Northern Virginia Community College’s Alexandria Campus.

The show featured Megan’s latest artwork that was made specifically for the exhibition. Her work explored the figure with depictions of various figures interacting with the environment around them.

Piece by Piece: Figurative Collage Exhibit Postcards

Yesterday I worked on installing my first solo exhibition, “Piece by Piece: Figurative Collage” at the Fisher Gallery. The show opens this Friday, although the reception isn’t until the 22nd. Below I’ve included images of the exhibit postcard – you can click on the front and back view to see a larger image of the card.

Piece by Piece: Figurative Collage by Megan Coyle
Front view

Piece by Piece: Figurative Collage by Megan Coyle
Back view

After loading and unloading artwork all day yesterday, it felt great to see the work up on the gallery walls. Now all I need to do is get organized for the reception. Then it will be time to prep for my Visiting Artist work. Yep, there’s never enough time in a day to get everything done…

Leisure Day

Leisure Day by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Leisure Day.” Collage on paper. 18″x24″
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This is the last piece in the figurative series for my upcoming solo show. I’m installing the show on Wednesday morning, so this week will be a busy one of marketing the exhibit and making plans for the reception in a couple of weeks.

I’m also beginning to prepare for my work as a Visiting Artist at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. I’ll have to plan out how to present myself while I’m working in an open studio there. I’m thinking of using Blurb to create a quick book filled with images of my work so I can have a more professional looking portable portfolio. Hopefully I’ll have enough time to get organized for this…goodness, so many upcoming events coming up all at once.

Afternoon Conversations

Afternoon Conversations by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Afternoon Conversations.”
Collage on paper. 18″x24″
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They look like they’re having quite a serious afternoon conversation. I just have one more finished collage from this series to post. Before long, I’ll get to go back to working on animal collages.

While looking through my artwork the other day, I noticed that I don’t have that many landscape or still life pieces. Looks like I’ll need to work on building those sections of my portfolio out some more sometime in the future. Yes indeed, there’s always work to be done.

I hope everyone has had a lovely week – it’s almost the weekend!

These Crowded Streets

These Crowded Streets by collage artist Megan Coyle
“These Crowded Streets.”
Collage on paper. 18″x24″
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Another scene inspired by one of my trips to NYC. I’ve enjoyed working on different angles of figures – by doing so, you can come up with some interesting narrative images. This was a piece that I revisited to edit and add more detail to it. Sometimes, when working on a collage, I can have a tough time getting into the piece. Although by setting it aside for a little bit of time, I can return to it later on with renewed energy and fresh eyes.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I somehow managed to hurt my foot the other day so I’m doing my best to rest up so I can move around like normal soon.