Category Archives: Collage

Collage at the CRAG: Past, Present and Future

Collage is a medium all its own within visual art, referring to art made from combining a variety of forms, materials, and sources to create a new whole. By layering different information and materials, new meaning develops from the meaning of the original sources.

Caroline Monnet, Bear (anomalia series). Collage and silkscreen on paper, 2010.

The beginning of collage is often attributed to George Braque and Pablo Picasso during the Synthetic Cubist period (1912-1914). The term “collage” comes from the French word coller, or “to glue.” Collage’s definition as a visual art has expanded through technology. Analogue, or handmade collage, may include newspaper clippings, images from books and magazines, coloured or handmade papers, portions of other artwork, cloth or found objects. The techniques used to create this type of collage can be as simple as tearing up images, pasting images over one another and applying coloured surfaces with straight or organically-ripped edges. Digital collage is a technique that utilizes computer design and image manipulation to achieve seamless effects. 

Collage doesn’t just have to be two-dimensional magazine cutouts, although that’s loads of fun and can produce amazing results. The definition of collage can be expanded to include video à la Janie Geiser’s 1994 short film The Red Book which was screened as part of Landscapes of the Interior this summer in the CRAG’s Satellite exhibition. Montage film is rooted in early film editing that involved physically cutting and rearranging filmstrip reminiscent of collage techniques. This changes the speed and variety of images viewers see, and can create chaotic effects and manipulate time.

Robert Rauschenberg, Rhyme, 1956. Combine: oil, fabric, necktie, paper, enamel, pencil, and synthetic polymer paint on canvas. RRF 56.005

Sculpture is also prevalent in the history of collage practice. It is also known as assemblage. American artist Robert Rauschenberg created “combines” that incorporated painting and found objects. Using personal objects was a surprising and subversive way to express himself that was different from the popular Abstract Expressionist style, challenging notions of originality.

Collage can be a powerful tool for change. The medium offers the opportunity for artists to add commentary through familiar imagery and objects. Relatable materials increase audience recognition and artist credibility, making the message more convincing. The possibilities of using collage to address a variety of issues are endless. Artists can leave clues within the elements of a piece to allude to anything from social and political to personal and global concerns.

Bushra Junaid, Poetics of Relation. Digital drawing, 2017.

VOICES AFAR // Diversity-based practices in collage is the third and final phase of the CRAG’s year-long Satellite Gallery exhibition, Collage, sans colle, co-curated by Jenelle Pasiechnik and Vicky Chainey Gagnon. The works of three Canadian artists, Caroline Monnet, Jerry Evans and Bushra Junaid, will be featured in our lobby until November 20th. 

Bushra Junaid will be joining us on October 4th from 6 to 8 pm for a combined lecture and collage workshop in the CRAG lobby. The cost is just $5 and all materials for making your own collage will be provided. Check out our updated fall Programming Guide for lots more collage activities happening, like regular Artist Trading Card events.


Don’t forget to keep up with our travelling community art project, the Collage Caravan! Follow #CollageCaravan and our social media feeds for updates on its island adventures this month. The restored 1975 Winnebago has been converted in to a mobile art gallery and it’s now ready to hit the road!

Photo courtesy of Rachel Henry.

Collage Caravan: Art on the Move this Fall

Front view of the Collage Caravan. Photo courtesy of Rachel Henry.

In conjunction with this extended exploration of the medium of collage, the CRAG team is embarking on a travelling community collage project known as the Collage Caravan. Local artist Rachel Henry has converted a 1975 Winnebago van into a mobile art gallery complete with a blonde wood interior and overhead track lighting, not unlike the Crummy Gallery by the Bomfords which is currently residing in Spirit Square as part of the CRAG’s main gallery exhibition this fall. It is built to house collage artwork from the community of Campbell River and will travel to the North Island communities of Gold River, Tahsis, Sayward, Port Hardy and Port McNeill over the course of October to display the art inside. All of the schools that we visit in will also contribute collage art pieces to the gallery. 

Jan Brueghel the Elder and  
Hieronymous Francken II, The Archdukes Albert and Isabella Visiting a Collector’s Cabinet. Circa 1621-1623, oil on panel. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.

A mobile art gallery might sound like an outlandish idea, but art galleries have not always looked like the ubiquitous “white cube.” In fact, this model was only popularized in the 20th century with the rise of modernism which assumed that white walls devoid of any context would allow art to speak for itself. Aristocratic early modern households displayed their art collections of all eras and mediums clustered together to demonstrate their wealth and good taste. A postmodernist approach to art and display takes social context in to consideration. Our mobile gallery will be able to change its physical location and engage directly with the diversity of community contexts that we inhabit on Vancouver Island. We hope that this ongoing collaborative project enriches arts education and appreciation and makes these accessible to everyone.

We want to celebrate the endless possibilities of collage and share the joy of art making with this accessible medium. Anyone is able to get immediate results (just cut, place and glue) with no formal art training needed, just lots of creativity and imagination. All you need to get started are scissors, glue and images! The ability to rearrange and change your mind without committing to a final image by physically moving pieces around gives collage a sense of flexibility that avoids the frustration of mixing a paint colour you don’t like or taking a photo with your thumb over the lens. 

The caravan with a fresh coat of paint. Photo courtesy of Rachel Henry.

The first Caravan stops are happening this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday right here in Campbell River. We will be visiting schools around town so keep your eyes peeled on the streets and our social media platforms for sightings and updates as it tours the island. Be sure to use #CollageCaravan to get involved on social media!

If you want to get involved with collage and public art at the CRAG this fall, be sure to check out our updated Programming Guide for all the info. Our current collage exhibition, VOICES AFAR // Diversity-based practices in collage, is on in the Satellite Gallery until November 20th and our new Main Gallery exhibition, Rest Stop and Crummy Gallery by Cedric, Jim and Nathan Bomford, is on view until November 18th.