Artist Statement

Morris Kantor, a great teacher and very underrated artist, once told me that if you have to explain your artwork, most likely you have already failed. Although I still believe that statement of his to be true, Kantor’s mandate is hard to follow in this age of artist statements, so I offer the following:

Collages are a satisfying format; they give new life to things that have been discarded, not wanted, given away. What the materials were used for previously makes no difference as long as they give meaning to the work at hand. My artwork is self-contained. It refers to nothing outside of itself.

My interest in color over the last 60 years has prompted an involvement with the color of shadows, to which the three-dimensional format of these new collages lends itself in an exciting way. It allows the image and its shadow to change as the light changes and as the viewer moves in front of or around the work, creating unexpected color surprises.

Collage work is both tactile and direct. The materials that I work with “speak” to me, visually telling me how to use every element in each piece. All my collages have something in them from nature, usually leaves gathered and saved from around our farm. It is my way of paying tribute to nature’s vast and endless gifts of color that surround each of us on our increasingly fragile planet.

~Paul Zelanski