A tiny work at the entrance to Lisa Collado’s exhibit greets visitors with: reaching out to others through collage. As I peered, mesmerized, at Lisa Collado’s work on display at Tannery Pond Community Center —this series of frenetic, almost dizzying, brilliantly colored collages—I could feel Lisa Collado reaching out to me, sometimes whispering, sometimes screaming in my ear.
Her work falls in the intersection of visual and literary art, of speech and painting. The messages at once clear and unambiguous and often poetic in their use of words and at the same time visually challenging and stimulating.
The sentences meander and loop across the canvas, finding their way around embedded objects such as used paint tubes, bits of glass, cloth dolls, and buttons. If, as Paul Klee once said, a “drawing is simply a line going for a walk”, then these collages show Lisa’s mind wandering through the universe, inviting us to come along.
Her work falls in the intersection of visual and literary art, of speech and painting. The messages at once clear and unambiguous and often poetic in their use of words and at the same time visually challenging and stimulating The sentences meander and loop across the canvas, finding their way around embedded objects such as used paint tubes, bits of glass, cloth dolls, and buttons. If, as Paul Klee once said, a “drawing is simply a line going for a walk”, then these collages show Lisa’s mind wandering through the universe, inviting us to come along.
When I met Lisa at the opening of the show at Tannery Pond, confined to a wheelchair, the health challenges that have plagued her for years, and that she acknowledges in her bio, seemed apparent. In one piece, Artists Confront the New Millennium, one that she started in 1999 and then added to in 2008, she inscribed “After declining health and fruitless doctor’s visits, will there be a third chance? (12/09/08)”
The work spans the late 1990’s through this year. The artist’s feelings and political leanings grab the viewer by the throat; they are insistent and unrelenting. The works reveal layer and layer of her observations of the world around her.
A round piece created in 2020 called COVID CODIX has this message circulating around the edges: originating in China and it spread marched through Europe and arrived in New York City with European travelers. As it raged through Queens and the Bronx and Long Island hospitals became overwhelmed with covid-19 patients whom health care workers valiantly tried to save in spite of lacking sufficient PPE (personal protecting equipment) and inadequate treatment…
The most recent piece, Patriotic Fervor, completed in March 2022, says this about Ukraine: the glory and freedom of Ukraine not yet perished. Luck will smile on us brother Ukrainians. Our enemies will die as the dew does in the sunshine and we too brothers will live happily in our land”.
Lisa created a torrent of work after 9/11 and the United States’ military response to the attacks. In Alas, Iraq, finished in 2003, she scrawls: On the 247th anniversary of the birth of Mozart creator of sublime music, we are confronted with the report of the U.N. weapons inspectors and the frightening possibility of war—what cruel irony
I kept coming back to one piece in particular. As readers of some of my earlier blog posts might gather, I have a particular fascination for Mexico and Mexican culture. I have spent time in Oaxaca studying Spanish, days wandering the streets of Mexico City and countless hours reading Mexican literature in online classes. Lisa Collado was once married to a Mexican man and has spent much time in Mexico and other parts of Latin America.
So I stood for a while in front of Mexico Memory (2009), tilting my head as I read this: Mexico querido y lindo [beloved and lovely] – your siren call beckons me.Lush tropical forest and arid desert, fruitful coastline and infertile heights make Mexico a land of vivid contrasts yet always transcends el folclorico [folklore].
Somehow, for me, this work captures the complexity and beauty of Mexico, without sentimentality but with great admiration.
Lisa Collado’s exhibit “Collage” will be up at Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek New York until May 8. The show also includes work by young artists of the Johnsburg Central School of all ages. These student artists were shown some of Lisa Collado’s work and were inspired to create their own collages. And I, in turn, was inspired by their budding creativity.