Kevin Brady


Collage is an urban art. It developed in response to the rise of modern industrial cities – to the shock, stimulation, and competing lures of urban life. Its appeal, for me, is in the pleasure of searching cities, collecting worthless paper souvenirs, and feeding them into an open-ended art process. Collage is at once a travel record, personal expression, autonomous art, and social document.

Back in the studio, I work on as many as thirty collages at once. Many come to nothing, but all of them surprise me continually as I play them like so many chess games. Collage invites the unforeseen, and responds to the unplanned. It brings a heightened awareness of elements in play, possibilities and choices. More than a language of accumulation – of stuff added to stuff – collage is a restless exchange of figure and ground. Structures come into being, and turn away from what they had been; identities appear and shift shape; boundaries are affixed and erode. Destructive and constructive principles exist side by side in this process, in decisions that are as direct and intimate as those of drawing.

The found paper, for me, imposes a discipline of responding to what is given. I find myself bumping up constantly against my own stubborn, designing impulses. In the end, these collages are aimed at producing a symbolic, if provisional, unity out of fragments.