Midnight collage


Last week on a night when I couldn’t sleep, I padded down to the cool refuge of my basement studio and assembled two rows of collage. I can’t say that making the collages meaningfully improved my mood, which seems to be tanking with abysmal frequency these days, but the intense focus did provide momentary relief. Minutes slid into hours. Collage has always had that kind of power for me.

The images can be read left to right, like a story. They overlapped as I laid them out, but obviously to photograph, I had to make selections about where to end one image and begin the next. When the collages get converted to SoulCollage cards, the edges will become permanent. A color xerox machine will be involved.

Feel free to offer your sense of what the story is about. I’d be curious.









Some of the collages have changed since these pictures — tidied up or supplemented.

This is not a story, but here are some fairly random notes prompted by the pictures:

What do I chose to reveal and how and to whom? Where are my sources of strength? What haunts me and what haunts the ones I love? Where is succor? Love matters. Where do I run when things turn backwards? Will she jump? Is that your mask or mine? Can the old terrors keep getting at me? What will I trade for peace? She reclines in front of a young man in possession of himself. They are so far away! What does their future hold? Will they ever connect? Why is my bowl so frequently empty? Who is he? Who is she? Will the angel really bring pink roses in the final hour? What about now?


7 thoughts on “Midnight collage

  1. Ginny

    I’ve been wondering about the stories behind your collages, which seem so threatening and nightmarish, as well as your defending borders theme. Scary.

    How heavy our pasts weigh on the future. Personal, political, physically. All worries. All require a defense system. Who has one? I wish I did. Sometimes I think we are all free falling in to what looks like a hard landing.

    I can relate to the questions posed in your random notes, though I have no good answers. Sad times we are living in. I have a feeling they may get worse.

    No wonder we’re waking up in the middle of the night ….

    1. deemallon

      I could have written what you share as comment here Ginny. Certainly some of the nightmare is collective, but not all of it. Maybe part of this exercise is to look at the lingering effects of trauma. I certainly do not set out to depict the nightmare. The images just fall together. Those are the ones I grab without thinking. As I get older the personal part of it all seems to matter less and less. I wonder if this will make sense to you more than it would to most people given your explorations of mythic figures in your paintings.

      1. Ginny

        These new pics strike me as much as the octopus collage, a subconscious recognition of a message that easily drives a middle-of-the-night anxiety wake up call.

        The linger effects of trauma? Toxic over-exposure? A terrifying premonition of what is to come? Maybe it is no more than the visual gravitational pull toward trauma, and the artist’s disposition to not look away? The opportunity for train wreck is endless these days.

        Who knows? But it is scary. All I can say is there are a lot of us waking up with the 3:00 am dreads. I just wish the alarm wasn’t set for 530.

  2. Michelle in NYC

    My only defense of late is surrender. I mean the ‘let go’ sort of surrender. In some respect it is a choice to accept and release. Perhaps that’s why I make so little art these days. Your collages are quite brilliant and compelling however.

    1. deemallon

      Good reminder. I said Metta (for myself) walking Finn yesterday. But something more daily is in order. That’s adding something not surrendering but whatever I add would help with surrender. This I know. Thanks for chiming in. I always love to hear from you.


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