National Collage Society

To be beautiful and meaningful, some things just need to be pieced together well. The Cornell Museum shows many ways to do it. On the first floor, "National Collage Society" offers a creative array of approaches to the vastly varied medium. Just about anything goes here. How about photomontage, the piecing-together of photographs to create a composite picture to create surprising juxtaposition? Marat Relaxes at West Dude Ranch uses ed cutouts to play with the famous image of the writer in his bath, here placing him in a rustic bathroom as elk and bear peer through the window. Some collages, like Dream Pattern, use decoupage, incorporating the delicate paper of a McCalls pattern with magazine pages and colored pencil in abstract composition. Fantasy Landscape uses frottage, rubbing a texture into a paper, to add additional color and complexity to diverse materials. Some works even take a sculptural approach, like Power of Babel, five graduated cubes (two feet at its base) composed of printed squares in different languages. You get the distinct impression that collage is women's work (femmage?), though there are a few exceptions. Same goes for the works on the second floor, "Metrotextural: Art Quilts From the Manhattan Quilters' Guild," a tidy exhibit of quilts that depict myriad aspects of New York living, all in three-foot squares, including another artist's take on Babel. Taking a representational approach to demonstrate the artist's love for the city that never sleeps, Dusk captures the magical quality of the city's skyline at twilight in shimmery fabrics and sequins, and Kaleidoscope XXXII: My Brooklyn Bridge depicts the infrastructure almost religiously, its form invoking angel's wings or heaven's gates in sparkly, textured strands. Earthier, hand-dyed cottons form other works such as City Pulse and Apartment 3A. (Through October 28 at Cornell Museum, 51 Old School Square, Delray Beach. Call 561-243-7922.)

 
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