Although we’ve been familiar with Greg Lamarche’s work for some time, it took seeing his installation at Scope NY 2010 (covered) for us to start to realize that there was definitely much more to his art than cutting and pasting paper. From his obsessive stockpiling of found and vintage papers to his keen ability to highlight specific or overlooked aspects of those materials, such as bar codes or patterns, Lamarche has a unique talent for collage and a clever approach to the medium that is like none other.
AM had a chance to visit Lamarche’s studio recently, while he was finishing up some pieces for a variety of projects, including Scope Miami 2010 with Anonymous Gallery. Check out the behind the scenes images, as well as a short interview, after the jump.
Arrested Motion (AM): You’re becoming well-known for your collage pieces, but you also work in other mediums. How does collage relate to your art overall, and why have you been focusing on that type of art?
Greg Lamarche (GL): My collage work informs a lot of the other mediums I work in. Some collages become installations and some turn into murals or paintings. For me, collage is a gateway of sorts, and through them, I am able to create many different series of works. Working in collage and with letters, there is always a steady stream of ideas that keeps me creatively sharp.
I have been making collages for almost 30 years now. I like to collect things and pick things up that have a past history or have been weathered and aged over time. I like using tangible objects to create various series of collages and completely transform mostly discarded and overlooked materials into something totally new visually. It’s also a challenge to find pieces for my collages and that too has become a big part of my process.
AM: When you started, were there certain artists that influenced your work? What about now?
GL: When I was younger, I was exposed to artists like Joseph Cornell, Red Grooms and Kurt Schwitters. They all had a huge impact on my work. Early on, I was probably most influenced by Schwitters, and a lot of my first works reflect this sensibility and style in terms of dense layers of worn materials and geometric compositions. Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly were also early influences, as they gave me examples of how to utilize negative spaces and create maximum impact with minimal forms. I used these artists as inspiration and departure points to develop my own style and use my own experience as the basis for the work.
Today, I draw inspiration from living in NY and my materials. I am constantly absorbing moments and spaces around the city that have been neglected or are somewhat inaccessible—like the layers of chipped paint on the columns in the subway stations or the words on the menus stuffed under my door. I utilize these overlooked elements and create new ways to view and appreciate them. While I continue to make collages, I have branched out into assemblage and creating installations, but very much keep my collage aesthetic intact.
Discuss Greg Lamarche here.