Aimée Henny Brown & Jessie McNeil
The Opposite of Entropy
Aimée Henny Brown & Jessie McNeil come at the practice of collage from a concept of salvaging; reclaiming physical material from sources that are dated and graphically historical, or simply discarded and destined for the bin. It is the practice of collecting images, partial and whole, and rearranging and juxtaposing these images, or image fragments, into artworks that give new life to the old. What links their work in its final form is the consideration of architectural form and urban / social spaces. Where they differ is in the use of the collage technique to create the final image.
Exploring themes of prospect, refuge and apocalypse, Aimée Henny Brown’s work is inspired by architectural structures and traditional landscape photography. Collage compositions operate as a primer for contemplation of current events, while also reconciling the kitschy, absurd aesthetics of bygone science fiction narratives. World-building of composite shelters within surreal, nostalgic environments encourages consideration of both the everyday and the spectacular, asking the viewer: “How will the present be endured and what will survival look like?”
McNeil’s interdisciplinary practice addresses themes of place, intuition, migration and memory while often focusing on microhistories, identity and language. However, it is in the medium of collage that the transience of her current subject matter is best reflected. Hundreds of paper fragments are cut and collected to make up one of her photo-based collage figures, and the works in The Opposite of Entropy demonstrate this slow and intricate process. This painterly approach to collage portraiture—using layers of magazine paper instead of brush strokes—feeds a continuous exploration of how we occupy the urban landscape, and how the environment inhabits us.
Image: Jessie McNeil, Bus Stop, 2018