Atkins as Artist: Hugh Atkins Collage Exhibit at DCCA
By Leslie Sysko, Upper School English Teacher
Hugh Atkins, Upper School English Department Chair, opened an exhibit of his collage work at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington on Friday, December 7, 2012.
Atkins is a visual artist whose lyrical work with paper, scissors, and tempera yields compositions typically forming mélanges of human forms, landscape, and intricate borders. The pieces were exhibited in Tower Hill’s Founders Gallery in an exhibit called “Paper Cuts” during September 2008. More recently, Atkins’s work was honored by the National Collage Society this year; in fact, a piece titled “Migration” was included in the society’s 28th annual juried exhibit, held at Ursinus College from June through August 2012.
The DCCA exhibit opened on Friday evening during Wilmington’s Art Loop and the DCCA’s first Friday of the month Art on the Town festivities. Guests milled through the DCCA’s seven galleries—including the one in which Atkins’s work is currently on exhibit alongside that of painter Dan Jackson. Many of the 25 artist studios were also open for visitation.
The DCCA, which is located near the riverfront on South Madison Street here in Wilmington, was founded in 1979. It presents between 20 - 30 exhibitions annually of regionally, nationally and internationally recognized artists that explore topical issues in contemporary art and society.
Atkins’s acquisition of studio space at the DCCA last summer came after a stringent application process. Atkins claims that the new studio has allowed for several significant transitions to occur, including basic logistical relief. The move of his ample materials and tools from his home to the studio has made for more commodious circumstances on both the home and work fronts. Secondly, Atkins suggests that his work has begun to take on a look as the broader space allows him to envisage compositions differently. In fact, one of the pieces in the show, a collaged depiction of a Japanese landscape, complete with all four elements on view, “is meant to be seen from up close as well as from far away where it takes on new meaning,” explains Atkins.
The work “reinvent[s] the familiar. By taking images that exist in a particular context and then presenting them in ways that subvert those original frames of reference, the works challenge both the viewer’s assumptions about the images themselves and the methods of presentation.”
The DCCA exhibit of Atkins’s work, “Out of Sorts”, will continue through December 30, 2012.