July 2008: Andrea Peyton & Denise Graham

Andrea Peyton works in a variety of mediums including ceramics, glass, mosaic, and has recently added assemblage and collage to her repertoire.  She is drawn to the tactility of different materials-their character and the way they interact.  Her mixed-media collage work especially exemplifies this.  She loves searching for and combining different imagery and materials such as old photographs, text, maps, and a variety of metals which she tools and patinas in different ways.  She often works in a shrine format, enclosing her collages in niches of copper and tin, reminiscent of the ritablos found in hispanic fold art.  Her numerous trips to New Mexico and Arizona, especially to Santa Fe, had a strong impact on her aesthetic as an artist.  She often employs beeswax as a varnishing agent for her collage which adds to the depth and timelessness of her work.  Most of Andrea’s images refer to themes of Womanhood and are imbued with a sense of nostalgia and history.  The titles for her pieces are often derived from old songs or poems, and can be found tucked away in the recesses of her intimate, enshrined worlds.

Denise Graham

I am fascinated by the past, traveling there within my art using nostalgic imagery in new and unexpected ways.  My work is a reflection of my belief that history resides in the everyday details.  I explore the mysteries inherent in the lives of unknown women who have gone before me. My selection and placement of old photographs and small domestic artifacts is intuitive, becoming meditative, yet still containing a bit of humor and irony.

My work involves the assemblage of antique images and photographs in combination with cast-off materials and found ephemera.  Pieces may include traditional feminine accoutrements such as buttons, sewing implements, cosmetic items, or even jewelry.  Scraps of old wallpaper, postcards, or images of flowers cut from gardening catalogs are also cherished and used thoughtfully.  To contrast some of the softer materials I use more aggressive items such as carpet tacks and rusty bits of metal to create a conversation within a piece.

My more recent works include the use of thousands of beads; individually hand-sewn to the work, illuminating backgrounds as well as highlighting certain details within the image, from which emotional themes emerge.  Creating artwork with these modest and otherwise neglected treasures are my way of drawing attention to, and placing value on, the more personal concerns of women’s lives, giving me a sense of community and purpose.