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Inner Light reflects the time of year in which it was created. The subtle light of winter, the brief days, provided Deborah O’Keeffe a quiet time of reflection, an opportunity to turn inward. The dark borders, composed of wasp-made papers given as a Christmas gift by a friend, softly define the circle and the rectangle within which it exists. Within the larger circle a small, definite circle of brightness perhaps signifies the spirit that is able to flourish in bleak times. The hope of spring is hinted at by pale bioforms that lie latent in the lower ground of the collage. The entire work is imbued with quiet, subtle contrasts, and complex simplicity, qualities evident also in the work of Agnes Martin (1912-2004), an artist O’Keeffe admires. She approached the creation of this work as an experiment and an exploration, an attitude she brings to the making of many of her collages.
I create finely detailed mosaic collages in abstract and symbolic patterns using a variety of papers (many of them recycled) handcut into tiny pieces. Very occasionally I incorporate found metal, glass, wood, or plant material into the collage. Using a metal stylus, lightly touched against spread glue, I lift a tiny piece of paper and position it on the collage. I use Elmer’s Glue-All, undiluted, and PVA to affix paper to substrate. I work with a variety of substrate, including salvaged wood, stretched canvas, and discarded books. When the collage is complete I finish it with multiple coats of polyurethane or polycrylic varnish. This coalesces and deepens the colors and protects the collage. Sometimes I draw guidelines for the collage, but usually I work around a “center” or focal point(s) and follow a process of dialogue with the artwork to allow it to develop organically.More About Artist