About the Artist:
Gerald Mead is an independent curator and art writer who teaches in the Design Department at Buffalo State College where he received his BS in Design and BA in Psychology and at the University at Buffalo where he earned his MFA in Visual Studies. His highly detailed, small-scale collages/assemblages constructed from photographic materials and found objects are in the permanent collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY), Burchfield-Penney Art Center (Buffalo, NY), Castellani Art Museum (Lewiston, NY), George Eastman House/International Museum of Film and Photography (Rochester, NY), Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR) and International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction (Fort Worth, TX) among others. His works have been in museum/gallery exhibitions throughout the US and in Australia, England, Poland, Russia and Canada and are published in five collegiate textbooks. Gerald has received grants from the New York Foundation of the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts and major awards include First Place at the Carnegie Art Center National Exhibition and a Fine Arts Award from Creative Quarterly: The Journal of Art & Design. Gerald is also an appointed member of the Buffalo Arts Commission, serves on several art boards and committees in the region and frequently juries local and national exhibitions.
For years I have been intrigued by discarded objects and images, regarding them as potent and poetic cultural artifacts. Acting in the role of a bricoleur, I collected, and categorized these materials with the rationale that they were source material for my artistic practice. I have also been given a number of rich archives – collections of material ranging from medical slides to transparencies and postcards. The idea of retrieving objects, materials and remnants and giving them new meaning through a process of recombination and appropriation certainly has its historic precedents. However this strategy takes on new relevance in today’s society – a “remix” culture characterized by recycling, quoting, borrowing, sampling, mixing and recontexualizing.
My past and current artwork consists of series of photography-based collages/assemblages that are never larger than several inches. The intimate scale is deliberate and intended to encourage inspection of their complexity and obsessive detail and engage viewers in the act of decoding the metaphors and references. My work also balances the revelation and concealment of (visual and actual) text. Vintage photographs, historical art reproductions, images from popular print media and found materials are used to form a web of multi-layered imagery. The assemblages, many containing “enshrined” collages, are constructed with objects ranging from antiquated photography equipment to ambiguous domestic objects. The used and aged objects are heavily imbued with meaning and taken out of context or placed in opposition to an object from another era; they take on new and unexpected meanings. Appropriating (and subverting) these objects and images represents not only my aesthetic and intuitive choices; it also introduces a dialogue with the viewer about how objects and images are observed and interrelated and how strategies of recombination affect that interpretation.