My name is Cheryl Dawdy. I am a collage artist based in Ann Arbor, MI.
I call my collages “Reconstructed Landscapes”. Working with old postcards and fragments of found, or in other ways "rescued" scraps of paper and other items I create images that have been described as “wonderful little worlds you want to climb into” and “the stuff of dreams”.
Some of my pieces use sections of old wallpaper sample books I've washed with acrylic paint, then cut up and juxtaposed; others contain parts of pages from ironically, a World Geography “book” that had been transcribed into Braille. Some incorporate layers and layers of acrylic gel medium to mimic encaustics and others include images printed on acetate. I am currently fascinated with image transfers, and using tissue paper to create and then conceal...to add and then take away. Many layers are constructed in this process until finally, the journey is revealed in a whisper of what is hiding beneath all that was left to linger.
Collage allows me the spontaneity to create without any end-product in mind; alleviating somewhat, the dreaded, fear of failure and resulting frustration I use to feel when what I made never turned out the way I had envisioned. Collage lets me play without anxiety about the restrictions of my chosen medium (such as, for example, watercolor, which in my estimation involves a level of skill and control I‘ll never possess in this lifetime!) It is a most forgiving means of expression with endless possibilities, and the only challenge really, is deciding when to stop! And, it fits most perfectly with the “make it up as you go along” approach to life I’ve adopted for the past several decades. In my opinion, expectation only invites disappointment, but leaving, and living with an open mind offers unlimited potential.
On a deeper level, I guess I see my work as a metaphor for life in our present time. That process we all go through at some time or another of taking our lives apart and putting them back together again – but trying all the while to make them look and feel somewhat real and almost normal. From a distance, what appears familiar and recognizable, upon closer inspection reveals something added or something taken away – and what remains is like nothing that’s ever been before. See there how some odd piece has merged with some other part that’s something like it, but different? Things have been forever changed, and nothing will ever be the same.
Pleasure is found then in seeking balance and that certain surprise and satisfaction that comes when it all finally fits together, since there had been no preconceived notion of what it would look like when it was done!