New exhibit opens in Saranac Lake next week

SARANAC LAKE — Featured artist Anastasia Osolin rifled her 30-year-cache of images for her exhibition, “Cut & Paste: Collages by Anastasia Osolin,” for her July show at the Adirondack Artists Guild in Saranac Lake.

Opening reception is Friday, July 1, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided.

Something a little different

Though she is known mostly for her found-object assemblage sculptures, this exhibit will focus on her cut paper collages.

“I’m doing something a little bit different this time,” Osolin said.

“This one is going to be all collages. Usually I do assemblages, but I have two-and-three-dimensional collages but they are all cut paper. I have these images from all kinds of different places — astronomy textbooks, art history, old magazines. I have been collecting images for 30 about years at this point. I have a pretty large image library.”

Found imagery

Created entirely with found imagery drawn from a wide variety of sources including astronomy textbooks, vintage scientific and botanical illustrations, magazine advertisements and art history, the resulting collages are vibrant, fantastical windows into imaginary worlds, playfully exploring the intersections of nature, technology, myth and spirituality.

“It doesn’t really have a theme exactly,” Osolin said.

“The images are all representational, sort of surrealistic themes I can guess you could call them. There are a couple of different ways of doing collages, but I like to actually cut out images and put them together in surprising, different ways. A lot of my work has astronomy themes, but these new ones don’t especially have any unifying theme. They are just kind of fantastical a little, I like to think of them, as windows into imaginary worlds.”

The process

Osolin places her paper images on hardboard such as Masonite. She taps her very well organized archives and the internet.

“I have a large digital image file as well,” she said.

“I just find things that I like or that speak to me in some way, and I shuffle them around with other things. Sometimes, I start out with an idea of kind of what I want it to be or what I want it to be about, and other times, I just have a couple of images that I really like and I want to use and I just sort of shuffle them around until I find a way to put them together. I make a big mess. Occasionally, it’s just serendipity. I’ll just have a bunch of things floating around my studio and something will sort of land on top of something else and I think that looks interesting.”

Osolin uses Liquitex matte gel medium to adhere the paper to the hardboard.

“It has a low moisture content, which helps to prevent the paper from wrinkling or bubbling or whatever. I use that and a rubber brayer. It’s like a rubber roller. Basically it’s used in printmaking for spreading ink on printing plates. The matte gel medium also acts as a sealant.”

Two books

The show includes small- and large-scale hand-cut collages, three-dimensional layered pieces in shadowbox frames, and prints of hybrid analog/digital creations.

“I will also have prints of digital collages available and two books that I have self-published this year,” Osolin said.

“One of them is a project that I’ve been working on for many, many years. It’s a book of all of my collages with astronomy themes. It’s called ‘The Everyday Importance of A Knowledge of Astronomy.’ There are 101 collages in there.”

The second book is called “Unclaimed Ancestors” and features portraits of “Clarissa” and “Phineas.”

“They’re all collages made using those old antique studio portrait photography,” she said.

“I pick those things up at yard sales, flea markets and antiques shops, that kind of thing. I don’t know why I started picking them up either. I just like them. It’s sad. Maybe I feel sorry for them that nobody has claimed them. I have claimed them. Made them my own.”

In July, Osolin will have assemblages in a group show at The Station in Onchiota.


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