I really enjoyed a recent visit to the member-owned Arts Sutton gallery in Sutton, Quebec where I encountered Mary Bogdan’s “Reparenting my inner child” series. While I was much less captivated in what I saw of collage on the walls than the stirring images of Mary’s constructions that I encountered in her book, “Mary Bogdan” (Heute Kunst, 2006), I very much enjoyed what I sensed of Mary’s search for intimacy – with herself, her family and with her viewer.
On view were two very different collections of work: the first were large collages from her “Madonna and Child” series; the second were giclÃ©e prints of Mary’s digital collages from her “Madonna and Child OR Reparenting My Inner Child” series. I’ll focus here on the former, not because the giclÃ©e prints are not interesting, but because, ultimately, they must fail to deliver the tactile, textured, and vigorous result of her masterful collage and mixed media work. The giclÃ©e, while saturated and technically well-executed, are flat and unmoving.
“Madonna and Child” is a series of seven works on paper using mixed media and handmade papers. The unifying motif across each work is a reproduction of a classical work depicting the Madonna and child. Each work is further unified through its composition and use of materials: an antique background of handmade paper frames two pages text and images, the Madonna always on the right side, that creates the effect of an open book. A string of variously produced fiber hangs between each page, further creating the effect of an open book by resembling a book mark ribbon common in classical books. Perhaps in a reference to purity, or in an effort to boost the muted tones of her work, each collage makes use of liberally applied guache-like white paint. Scraps of paper are used as a further framing device around the two folios.
The overall of effect of each composition is the reproduction of a religious manuscript: the classical imagery, textured papers, soft tones, and aged text all rouse the curiosity of the viewer and draw you into the curious life of this artist rediscovering her inner parent.
A thoroughly pleasurable experience to have encountered this vigorous artist in Sutton.