The art of collage just got a huge boost from the Polish artist Piotr Uklański (in terms of scale, at least). The Madison Avenue Nahmad Contemporary is spotlighting the artist in ‘Piotr Uklański: Collages’. Maintaining studios in both Warsaw and Greenpoint, Brooklyn, he serves up work that in some cases ranges more than ten feet across and seven feet in height.
While the multi-talented Uklański’s oeuvre has ranged across painting, photography, performance, film and textiles, he turned to collage in 2000.
His technique is a radical departure from the norm. Rather than pull images and text from newsprint and magazines, Uklański paints huge sheets of paper in a dazzling array of tones, from slate blue to pungent orange and verdant green, and then tears portions so the raw white edges are shown. Finally the torn paper collage is pasted directly on plywood. Seven works in all are on view, spanning the past 15 years.
Uklański’s 2010 Untitled (Ivy Mike), for instance, measures over seven feet across, comprising an expanding mushroom cloud (disaster is a frequent reference in his art) against a balmily blue sky and demonstrating the immersive quality of his practice.
‘The torn paper collage series,’ says dealer Joe Nahmad, ‘is a powerful body of work that epitomises Uklański's unique ability to transform a humble craft tradition into a highly charged, subversive practice.’