substrata: the spirit of collage in 76 years of art

West Bedroom Gallery

Beginning in 1912, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Juan Gris were the first artists to explore collage in a self-consciously modern way, in relation to both the history of art and to the culture of their time. Their Cubist collages were a radical break with the “window on the world” depictions of Renaissance painting. But after the Cubists’ defiant, “punk” attitude of those early years, they returned to painting. Looking back, in 1948, Picasso himself could not say why:

We must have been crazy, or cowards, to abandon this! We had such magnificent means. Look how beautiful this is (…) we had these means yet I turned back to oil paint (…) It’s insane!

With select works from Reynolda’s collection and several borrowed ones, substrata seeks to “peel back” some of their layers to see how collage, as an artistic approach, has formed the basis for artworks that are not collages. The exhibition includes work by Robert Motherwell, Romare Bearden, Robert Rauschenberg, Stuart Davis, and Jasper Johns, among others. Substrata has been curated by Paul Bright, Director of Art Galleries and Programming at Wake Forest University Art Galleries and Collections.

UPDATE (February 28, 2022): Substrata’s opening date has been moved from March 4 to March 18. 

Image: Jasper Johns, Decoy, 1971, lithograph from one stone, hand-printed, and eighteen plates. Gift of Barbara B. Millhouse. © Jasper Johns and ULAE/Licensed by VAGA at Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY