About Debra San’s Collages


In the art world, collage commonly refers to work created from cuttings or clippings taken from various sources. The clippings usually contain fragments of recognizable imagery (pictorial or typographic) but are combined to create a unique new image.

To the general public, collage usually implies a collection of separate images, typically photographs but perhaps also drawings, maps, and objects, that are arranged together in a pleasing fashion.

Collage by Debra SanDebra San’s collages are neither of these. Rather, she “paints” with colored scraps of paper which themselves contain no imagery, just colors and tonal variations. She uses these, more or less the way a painter would use brush strokes, to build up totally abstract and rather minimalist pieces. The scraps are found by searching through a large number of magazines, most commonly in the smoothly graded backgrounds of advertisements and other studio photography. The clippings are sorted by color and tone and stored for future use — Collage by Debra San similar, perhaps, to the way painters buy tubes of paint without knowing in advance exactly how the colors will be used. Ultimately, the clippings are attached to boards or paper using acrylic painting medium as the adhesive. The finished works are often coated with acrylic medium or acrylic varnish.

Artistic influences on Debra San’s collage work include Feininger, Mondrian, Klee, Albers, and a variety of color field painters.

[this page written by Lawrence San, Debra’s brother]