Art is a broad spectrum, and because no two people fall at exactly the same point on that spectrum, there are as many art styles as there are people. A unique artist with an interesting take on physical media, Polly Law, is visiting the Grand Canyon South Rim this fall to find inspiration for her next series of intricate paper dolls. On the 20th, the Shrine of the Ages hosted her collection for a public presentation outlining the meaning and process behind each unique work.
Although many would call her assemblies a form of mixed media, she prefers the more accurate term “bricolage”, which she explains as, “The artful use of what’s at hand”.
“It’s different from collage and assemblage because collage uses printed materials. Assemblage uses real materials as what they are and then there’s bricolage. If I was doing a collage and I needed to have a comb, I would find a magazine picture and use that. In assemblage I would use a real comb. For bricolage I have to improvise, so I might make (a comb) out of toothpicks and cardboard.”
Over the next few weeks, Ms. Law will be spending her days in and around Grand Canyon National Park, taking inspiration for her next series of paper dolls from one of the most beautiful places in America.
Law wasn’t always a bricoleur, and her background is more diverse than you might think. After moving to New York to attend Kent State University, she majored first in glassblowing before transferring to weaving, a field she thought would be more lucrative than it was. After graduation, Law began her career creating artwork for advertising agencies, both on contract and freelance, and later worked as an editorial illustrator while developing her own unique style.
After being asked by her friend to collaborate with her friend on a series of essays, she discovered her love for bricolage and made her first paper doll to accompany the essay she’d written for the compilation. Choosing to create a less abstract, more stylized dolled her to utilize materials like buttons, wire, and paint, materials she still uses in her most ambitious work.
The creation of that first doll opened the floodgates and led to a full-blown career making these detailed makeshift dolls. Law focuses largely on the female form, separating her dolls into individual series based on the material from which they are built. Past collections feature materials from machines, birds, and beaches.
“My gallery work has always had a deep mythological basis,” Law explained, “Not any particular mythology, but when you look at it you feel like it’s reflective of something archaic and old and still being expressed. I am going to take my reactions to the landscapes here and channel those through my own particular way of thinking about them. At the same time being inspired and influenced by a lot of the visual arts of the native cultures.”
To explore some of Law’s artwork, you can visit her website at www.buttonwoodart.com.
Have you ever found artistic inspiration in the Grand Canyon National Park? What are some of the most beautiful sights to see near the monument? Share your insight with us in the comments section below!