Joanna Roche was giving a guest lecture at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS). It was senior seminar my final days in the art department, the late Louis Ciccotello led then. The late Jerry Riggs supported the local art scene through the gallery of contemporary art and in general in that time it felt like the art department was strong bolstered by the energetic and inspiring professor Roche.
She was then researching an artist I had never heard of Joseph Cornell. An odd collector of seemingly unconnected items, which he meticulously filed away for later use. Though he was acquainted with many of the Surrealist Luminaries whilst exiled in American during the second world war, he was untrained. He attended college for about a year, worked an odd assortment of jobs from gardener, to graphic artist, and eventual sold some of his self trained works.
As Joanna spoke on the artist and slides of his works flickered on the screen I was entranced, everyone was. Over the next three critiques, Cornell was apparent in most of the works.
I had previously played with light boxes and similar ideas to Cornell's but it would take years for me to work in true found media.
First, with found wood scraps and a sander in my Roadside Ruin works.
Then with boxes in what I call Memory Box works, both Cornell homage and nod to my profession of many years the curio cabinet or Curiosity Cabinet.
a Miro like work Entitled Flat landscape inspired by the Edwin Abbot work Flatland and the playful works of Paul Klee and Joan Miro.
Finally (accidentally) a work sharing the same title of a Cornell work, Penny Arcade. Though to my credit it is a title given to his piece which the artist left untitled.
A local school that I done programs with and for actually attempted to copy this process after I visited the school and made memory boxes of their own this was my favorite one.
Next time Curiosity cabinets, shrunken heads, collectors, and thieves oh my!