At the heart of Contempo #ArtShop, opening June 19 at Spalding House, is an exhibition of more than 350 works, by internationally known and island-based artists (some fall into both camps!). Included in the lineup is New York–based Jane Hammond, a longtime museum collaborator.
Known for incorporating systems and structures in her multifarious collages using images that she prints, glues, and paints—for decades she limited herself to using only 276 found images—her work has expanded its range over the past 10 years. Nevertheless, she still relies on recurring images, one of which is a classic Art Deco–style hula girl that dances here and there in several of her works.
“Among my very first collectors were folks in Hawai‘i,” Hammond said when asked about the hula image, via an email exchange. “The only place where I have had two museum exhibitions is Honolulu. I had my first museum exhibition, curated by Jay Jensen, at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Years later I had an exhibition of my collaboration with poet John Ashbery at The Contemporary Museum.” Since then, the two museums have merged under the name Honolulu Museum of Art and evolved—like Hammond’s work. Although she won’t make it out for their showing, the artist answered questions about the creation of the ornate pair of botanical prints she made for #ArtShop—and promised to “be there in [the aloha] spirit!”
How did you go about choosing the works you are contributing? Did you make them for this event or just feel like the floral aspects were well suited to a Hawai‘i show?
The botanical collages are a part of my diverse body of works on and in paper. However, I did make these two pieces expressly for this occasion in Honolulu. You will see they contain all manner of Hawaiian flora.
What was your process when making them?
I am a collagist at heart—all my work is multipartite and combinatory. I feel that collage expresses the complexity, synchronicity and alignments of both contemporary life and our brains that live in it.
Many of your prints and paintings draw on a collage effect—a sort of semi-ordered chaos. Can you say more about that tendency?
I am interested in implying a certain much-ness and variety of things and experiences, but also in structuring them into a situation of some order and clarity. In these botanical collages, the idea is to create the image of a flower arrangement by following the procedure one would actually use to make one—rather than making a drawing of a flower arrangement. So, in making these pieces, I first made the vases and then created a huge plethora of flowers and plants of all types. Then, the process begins, one of arranging all these floral elements in the vase—to create something bountiful and nearly riotous, but also ordered and arranged at the same time. Each one of these pieces is completely unique.
Is there a difference, for you, between using a superficial structure—like a map or taxidermy-style display—and mimicking a natural structure like a bouquet of flowers or a pile of leaves?
You will notice that the background “white” sheet of paper is also a collage of many types of Japanese papers collaged onto the surface. The vases are printed on other Japanese papers via a metal relief technique and later hand-colored. The flowers are lithographs, linocuts, relief prints, rubber stamps, digital prints, etc. Many of them are also hand colored with watercolor and/or colored pencil. All of the hand-cut-out flowers are later painted on their sides. When you see the final pieces up close, not in photographic reproduction, you can easily see this 3-D, very physical aspect of the cutting, layering and gluing.
See more of Jane Hammond’s work on her website.