The Kern River Valley Historical Society is celebrating over 50 years of operation! Our mission is to preserve and communicate the rich and colorful history of this region. The Kern Valley Museum in downtown Kernville, next to the Post Office, welcomes visitors to explore our rich history.

What's Happening

Collage gets its name from the French word for glue and describes a broad range of art-making techniques that rely on re-appropriating previously made images and found materials into new compositions.  Although some skeptics in the past considered collage a “lesser” form of art than painting and sculpture, its role as a tool of the avant-garde in the 20th century is impossible to ignore. 

The method and the word were first popularized by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in 1912 when the two were radically transforming the painting world with their dive into Cubism.  The art critic Clement Greenberg wrote in a 1959 essay, “Collage was a major turning point in the evolution of Cubism, and therefore a major turning point in the whole evolution of modernist art in this century.”  For the Cubists, collage became a central part of their campaign to explore painting’s illusion of three-dimensionality while frankly acknowledging the flatness of the canvas, a break of hundreds of years of Western painting tradition. 

The European avant-garde after the first World War-the ­Dadaists and their Surrealist cousins-continued in the collaging spirit of the pre-war Cubists, filling their work with found objects, assemblage sculptures, and images placed outside of their original or normal contexts.  Other artists, including Jean Arp and Henri Matisse, saw in collage a potential for abstraction and simplicity in their work, using glued pieces of painted paper in their compositions.  Matisse’s work with collage became especially central to his art as he struggled to paint in his old age.

During the postwar years, collage became a favorite medium for artists like Pop-Art pioneer Richard Hamilton, whose iconic 1956 piece “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” used material cut out from magazines and advertisements.  Like many other artists of the era, Hamilton incorporated images from commercial media and advertising into his work, disrupting long-held conventions about subjects and materials allowed in serious art.  In the United States, Robert Rauschenberg’s “combine” paintings blurred the lines between mediums, with material.

From Picasso and Braque’s Cubist experiments to Richard Hamilton’s pop-art masterpieces, collage has been a primary tool of our most forward-thinking artists for more than a hundred years.  For many young artists in the twenty-first century, the spirit behind collage is enduringly appealing, even though the shock value of using collage as a fine art medium has largely passed.

The artists in Artful Paper capture the innovative spirit of collage by assembling striking pieces out of re-appropriated images into creative beauty.