I’ve written before about picking titles for my collages, but I think it’s a worthy topic again because I’ve made a new discovery about labeling myself and my art.
When at first I was strictly creating representational collages, the titles came right from the subject matter: “Penguins;” “Dante’s View” and “Panamint Mountains” (both places in Death Valley); “Golden Queen,” “Indian Paintbrush,” “Dahlia, the Valley Flower,” etc., ad nauseam.
Then some time later I got into using descriptive prepositional phrases: “After the Rains” (when) and “In the Pines” (where). Sometimes I combined the obvious for a one-two punch: “Sunset Across the Gulf,” “Sunset Over the Keys,” etc., in case you couldn’t tell that the sun was setting and needed to know where. Most recently I even included the location within the prepositional phrase for an additional clue: “Along the South Rim” (of the Grand Canyon), or “Over the American Falls” (on the US side of Niagara Falls). To be more current, perhaps I should just start providing GPS coordinates instead of actually naming the places represented.
Eh, bien! Let us not forget my fascination with French words because, doggone it, French just makes words look and sound fancier: “Regarder” (one who regards or the infinitive form of the verb “to look at”); “Le Petit Printemps” (the little springtime); “La Source” (the spring [as in water, not the season]); “La Belle Dame Rousse” (the pretty red-headed woman); “Toujours Toulon” (always Toulon—I just liked the alliteration); “La Reine d’Orée” (the golden queen, again). Mais, oui!
Ah, but then, there’s my obvious dedication to poetry: “To Be Born Woman” and “No Second Troy” (WB Yeats); “In the Uncertain Hour” (TS Eliot); “Fire and Ice” (R Frost); “Thanatopsis” (WC Bryant). Oh, I sound so academic!
I could also write a whole paragraph here on titles I created by combining the titles stolen from the images contained in the collages, e.g., “Degas’ Blue Dancers in Klimt’s Garden,” “Japanese Morning Glory in a Persian Garden,” etc. You get the idea: they’re long.
And you gotta love those abstract nouns–“Prescience,” “Indecision,” “Split Decision,” “Becoming,” etc.–because I used to teach my students the difference between abstract and concrete nouns so they could write about abstract topics as concretely as possible . . . .
Now I find myself looking for more technical and/or scientific terms to describe my collages because my newest collages have been less representational and more symbolic, like “Interstitial” last month. My most recent collage started out representational—based on a photo I took at Manatee Springs, FL, of cypress tree reflections—but when the collage was done I turned it on its side and gave it the title “Effusion.” The tree reflections became clouds or foam on a mottled background, and an effusion is an outpouring of something liquid or emotional . . . .
The whole point of my little retrospective is this: when I first began showing my collages, which were precise and based strictly on photographs of concrete subjects, a seasoned artist said to me, “Oh, I started out making representational collages, too, but I gave that up a long time ago. You’ll outgrow it, too, someday.” At the time, I was offended by her comment, for I thought what I was doing was amazing and very unique, but now, as much as it offends my pride to admit this, she was right. I find that I don’t want to do such tight work anymore; I even get kind of panicky when I consider doing anything realistic, precisely cutting and placing all those tiny pieces. I don’t know where my art is going or what is coming next, but there is no more “Spanish Flag Lantana” in my future! Be on the lookout for “Effloresence” and/or “Anthesis” instead . . . .