Arlene Solomon


Contact Information

asolomonmixedmedia@gmail.com

Please contact artist for purchases and commissions.

Photocollages

Mixed Media

Artist's Statement

I am a collage and mixed media artist. I began my art studies, like most beginners, with basic drawing and oil painting at the local art center about 10 years ago, while continuing to work full-time with individuals with mental health challenges who need assistance in building a career. I was fortunate to have so many accomplished and skilled teachers in my own backyard. When I discovered mixed media and collage, I got serious about my art work which has become a passion. I realized that what works for me is being able to feel textures and move things around creating something new from paper and found objects. Collage making is like solving a puzzle: the pieces and elements have to fit together to make a pleasing image. It’s always a thrill when I feel like I hit the right combination. I use bright, vivid colors that make me feel happy and draws the attention of the viewer. Composition is paramount and I love to use rectangular shapes and angles that overlap each other.

My collages have a definite sense of playfulness. In one series, I used museum guides with bright colors and glossy paper that I cut up and used to create my own galleries in my own fantasy art museums. I meticulously laid out the galleries, connecting them by a series of dots. I then added figures going about the museum. My work has been nostalgic, creating Memory Collages on personal themes such as my parents’ honeymoon in Atlantic City or my experience in the Eastern Caribbean as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I also create assemblages in wooden boxes, called “Alterated Boxes,” containing everyday objects that have been altered and combined in unexpected ways. Again, I use personal themes such as tea drinking, surrounded by friends sharing love and support, and sewing. Hunting for objects to put in the box, and searching through my endless collection of paper and “stuff,” increases my delight in the creation. I always leave the top slightly ajar to invite the viewer in to see what’s inside.

In my latest work, I combine my love of photography and collage by creating new city and landscapes from my own photographs. I “deconstruct” the buildings and use the architectural elements to create a collage. My process includes several steps. First, I find a building or buildings that catch my interest. I love the way the pieces of a building come together, made up of endless parts. I take many photos of both the whole building as well as the details such as a carved stone doorway. I particularly pay attention to doors and windows. Back in my studio I print them out and begin to select possible structures that might fit together. I enhance some features and play around with color. Then I begin cutting up the photos and arranging them. I may add in photos from other locations taken at another time. Finally, I may paint the sky and add paper for texture and sidewalks or streets. Some of the pieces are raised, giving the work a 3-dimensional quality. I work on a small scale, the largest pieces being 11 x 14, with much time devoted to little details. My subject matter includes famous buildings around Philadelphia, but my latest obsession is with Ferris wheels: that began with photos of amusement parks in Ocean City, New Jersey. While looking at one of my pieces at a recent show, a patron commented that she really couldn’t tell that the scene had been created although she said she knew that the buildings in the piece where not really near each other. Success!

Selected Exhibitions

Group
2017
Spring Gala Show, Mainline Art Center, Haverford, PA
Juror: Ekaterina Popova

2015
Aloft, Beauty Gallery, Newtown Square, PA
Juror: Madeleine Kelly

2014
Artist’s House Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Juror: Tony Morinelli

Spring Show, Delaware Valley Art League, Valley Forge, PA
Juror: Garth Herrick

2012
Member’s Show, Mainline Art Center, Haverford, PA
Juror: Robert Cozzolino

Other

2016, 2017
Chester County Art Studio Tour
Juror: Jeff Schaller

2015, 2016
Daylesford Abbey Annual Show

Commission

Private, Canadian Coast, Mixed Media, 2010

Affiliations

The Delaware Valley Art League
Mainline Art Center
MMX (Mixed Media Ten)

Awards and Honors

2015
Honorable Mention, Beauty Gallery, Newtown Square, PA

2014
Grant to provide 10 Recovery Through Collage workshops to mental health programs around the City, The Philadelphia Dept. of Behavioral Health

Merit Award, Spring Show, Delaware Valley Art League, Valley Forge, PA

2013
Judges Choice Award, Gladwyne Library League Art Show, Gladwyne, PA

2012
Gilbert Printing Services Award, Member Show, Mainline Art Center, Haverford, PA

Education

1973
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
MS, Rehabilitation Counseling

1971
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
BA, English

Certifications
C.P.R.P., Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Professional
C.R.C., Certified Rehabilitation Counselor

Continuing Education
2003 - present
Mainline Art Center, Haverford, PA, classes since 2003

  • Fantasy Collage, Leah MacDonald, 2016
    Photography, Rich Dunoff
  • Art of Collage, Andrea Snyder, 4 years
  • Art of Collage, Francine Shore, 2 semesters
  • Printmaking, Christine Stoughton, 2 semesters
  • Drawing and Oil Painting, Henry Martin

2011 – 2013
Mixed Media and Collage Techniques, Nancy Barch, Community Art Center, Wallingford, PA