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Moments of Our Life, Bring on the Blue!

This week ART YARD Advanced Studio session Moments of Our Life: Collage with Texture and Contrast was taught by one of our newest ART YARD Artists Claude Viaud Perlata.

Claude began by explaining that in French collage means to put together. Then in a well-planned presentation Claude showed us collages by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 20th century), George Braque (French, 20th Century), and Cey Adams (American, Contemporary). He also had us look at the paintings of Mark Rothko (American, 20th Century) as a springboard to discuss use of layering and color.

Pablo Picasso, Guitar, 1913
George Braque La Mandoline, 1914
Mark Rothko, No.16/No.12 (Mauve Intersection), 1949
Cey Adams in the studio with collaged mural, 2019

Claude asked us to bring to the session glue, scissors, tape, papers (mixed textures and patterns), or canvas or panels, and ink/paint or graphite. He instructed those who work digitally to use texture and layering. With these tools we created a collage about our close community or the larger community around us.

Not surprisingly several people concentrated on the election.

Marilyn August, Election Collage
August Levenson, America Dies In Darkness
Ed Rath, Polalaland

Eden explains her piece: "My piece is on the juxtaposition of fear and celebration that I feel because a lot of good has happened to me lately but I am HORRIFIED of the Election Tomorrow. So I took the flowers and decorative make up of Day of The Dead/Día de Los Muertos to represent death and connection through hard times, covered it in desperate pleas in red to vote and put my mom and dad’s wedding photo (it’s their 29th anniversary) and a quote from Doctor Who to represent perseverance: The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”

Eden Moore, A Pile of Good Tthings and Bad Things

Amelia Tineo, Out There is a Person
Claude Viaud Perlata, The Casa
Vera Tineo, The Women Who Make a Difference

Inspired by an earlier conversation with Vera, my piece was about working together in such a way that we are embodying and fostering good in the world. Under a movable window I placed and image of a bird to represent the individual. My father, on his way to the poles said that My father, on the way to vote quoted Dr. Martin Luther King as his mantra for the day: "Only in darkness can you see the stars." which in turn inspired my title for my collage Be The Stars.

Meridith McNeal, Be The Stars
Meridith McNeal, Be the Stars (detail)

Wayne took on the feeling of waiting we are experiencing at this very strange time.

Wayne Gross, Waiting

Sarah added to that idea with Coffee and Zoom as we wait.

Sarah Gumgumji, Coffee and Zoom

Wayne's second piece and Zahir's candy wrapper collage address seasonal change and the power of nature.

Wayne Gross, Ginko
Zahir Prudent, Sweet Pollen

Jacob describes the impetus for his collaged shirt: “When I was in high school, I wanted to make a shirt entirely out of paper clips. I abandoned the project because I couldn't find a way to make it work with just paper clips. For this project, I made a collage using the paper clips from that abandoned project, and other items I found in my childhood bedroom (that I am in the process of cleaning out). This a large stack of metrocards, some mardi gras beads, some cds that my family members didn't want. The shirt contained money from countries I never visited, and a bookI never read. These two items were gifts to me. I also had some fabric pieces with images of Meridith's artwork on it, and a doll that Iviva made for a lesson that she taught. The shirt can't function as a shirt with just paper clips, however, it functions as a shirt when I include objects members of my community gave me.“

Jacob Rath, Wearable Growing up in NYC Collage

In critique Vera gave big compliments to Jacob for creating a wearable collage which really stretched her concept of the medium.


Sarah Gumgumji has started a conversation on ART YARD CREATE about Day of The Dead. She explains: “It is a holiday involving family and friends gathering to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The Day of the Dead" has its origins in ancient Mesoamerican cultures blended with those of the Spaniards who arrived in Mexico in the early 1500s. During the early 20th century, Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada popularized the skeleton images – the Calaveras – associated with the holiday through his humorous drawings of Calaveras, establishing a uniquely Mexican Art style.”

José Guadalupe Posada, La Calavera Catrina, 1913

I added that this topic is relevant to my series “Magical things from My Mother’s House” fits this topic well. Portraits of objects that belonged to my mother, Brenda McNeal. Most are depicted in my own Brooklyn home; in their new surroundings they become both memorial and useful objects.

Meridith McNeal, Magical Things from my Mother's House We Are the People, 2018, watercolor on paper

Marie who enthusiastically responded to Sarah’s choice of artist: “Sarah, I love Posada!” And added her own seasonal drawing.

Marie Roberts, Halloween Vote


Kudo’s to Jersey City, home to ART YARD Partnership school PS 6! The New York Times reported on November 4th that Voters in Jersey City Embrace a New Tax to Finance the Arts.

“Jersey City, which tends to attract audiences from New York City because its theaters and galleries sit just across the Hudson River, is the first municipality in the state to establish a tax to benefit the arts. The plan is similar to taxes created to fund the arts that are used in several municipalities across the country.” New York Times, Nov. 4, 2020

Kyle Marshall Choreography, a dance company, performing at a festival hosted by Art House Productions, one of the organizations advocating for a new arts tax in Jersey City. Photo by Miguel A. Aviles, via Art House Productions


This week I worked with Regina Formisano at ART YARD partnership school Brooklyn New School on DOE paperwork. Regina was such a big help navigating the intricacies of the system and I am so grateful for her assistance!


Big congratulations to ART YARD Artist Vera Tineo who has artwork included in the exhibition Stand Up Prints at Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis, MN

“Printmaking has functioned historically as a means of disseminating information and knowledge, but also as a powerful tool for communicating social and political messages to a mass audience. Dissent, outrage, inspiration, hope, and calls for social justice are common themes in prints...”

And I am pleased to have work painting Inside Outside Filaments (Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn) will be included in State of the Arts 2020 exhibition at the Prairie Village Arts Council, Prairie Village, KS.

Meridith McNeal, Inside Outside Filaments (Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn), 2019, watercolor on paper, 75x55

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