Kolaj LIVE Knoxville
Friday, November 5th to Sunday, November 7th, 2021
at the Knoxville Museum of Art

Program Book

The Kolaj LIVE Knoxville Program Book documents the presentations and projects at the event. In these pages, you will find a schedule and descriptions of sessions, descriptions of evening events and special programs and some helpful information about being at Kolaj LIVE Knoxville.

(Click image to download a pdf of the program. A printed book is included in your registration packet.)


(click to view larger)



Collage Making

Meet & Greet

First Friday Knoxville

Great Collage Swap


Identiblocks: Portrait #001

Collage Confessional


Under Construction: Collage from the Mint Museum

Empty Columns Are A Place to Dream

Lesley Eaton: Shaping Maternal Lineage


Collage Congress

Our Place in the World: How Collage Sorts Identity

Fabric & Nature: Collage as Feminist Practice

Work of collagist Salvatore Meo

Collage Pedagogy: Teaching Collage

Empty Columns

Uncollage Tour

Collage Techniques

Kolaj Institute Info Session


Collaging with Encaustic



Collage Confessional

What does collage mean to you? How did you become a collage artist? What is your experience of the international collage community? Step into the Collage Confessional and tell us what draws you to collage, how it has affected your life, and where you see collage going in the future. Christopher Kurts will be recording responses on Saturday with the collected interviews being used to create a video posted on Kolaj’s YouTube channel. We’ll work with attendees to schedule interviews around the other goings on during the event. Instructions on how to schedule an interview will be included in your Event Packet.


Portrait #001

From North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, Mark Vargo makes "artwork that draws you into the known and then reveals details and perspectives that are unexpected to the viewer." He is known for his work made from collected and found materials that are bound with thread. He writes, "This act of finding and drawing together is essential to my process, an act at once both therapeutic and empowering–giving life to discarded and unnoticed things–elevating paper, thread and other materials to the level of art." At Kolaj LIVE Knoxville, Vargo will debut an interactive, dynamic, wearable collage mask that can be reconfigured by each user. Made of fifteen rotating collage blocks, the mask allows the wearer to reconfigure a unique collage face or to change their look "depending on their preferences, artistic vision and emotions at the time." At Kolaj LIVE Knoxville, Vargo will demonstrate the mask and photograph attendees wearing it.



Meet & Greet

November 5th, 2021 | 5-7PM
At Bernadette's Crystal Gardens | 26 Market Square, Knoxville MAP

Stop into Bernadette's Crystal Gardens in Knoxville's Market Square, pick up your event packet, and meet other Kolaj LIVE Knoxville attendees. Inside Bernadette's Crystal Gardens, you are surrounded by a variety of gemstones from around the world that have been painstakingly forged into works of beautiful art. Creating gemstone art is a highly specialized talent and many of the pieces inside Bernadette’s are done using unique processes that are known only to the artist. The bar offers cocktails, beer and food and is located in Knoxville's Market Square. VENUE WEBSITE


First Friday Art Walk Knoxville

November 5th, 2021 | 7PM till ...
Downtown Knoxville

Explore Knoxville's art scene. First Friday is celebrated throughout the city, encouraging people to venture out and enjoy great art and great company in all of Knoxville. The city's galleries and venues feature a variety of artists’ displays and live music. Discover the city's great murals. Downtown anchors include The Art Market and the downtown Visitors Center, home of the WDVX Blue Plate Special, all conveniently located on Gay Street. A free art trolley takes you between Market Square, Gay Street, and the Old City. Be sure to stop by The Emporium (100 South Gay Street | MAP) where Lesley Eaton's cut paper collages are on view from the street. Stroll, sip and shop throughout the evening! Meander over to Market Square and the Old City for additional art, entertainment and dining options. EVENT WEBSITE


Collage Making

Saturday, November 6, 2021 | 9:30AM to 5PM
Sunday, November 7, 2021 | 9:30AM to Noon

At the Knoxville Museum of Art | 1050 World’s Fair Park Drive MAP

Bring your scissors and grab your glue and enjoy the day making collage in The Regal Common of the Knoxville Museum of Art. Attendees are invited to drop-in or step-out throughout the day. Because The Regal Common is also the site of the Symposium, artists are welcome to continue their collage making as presentations are made. The collage making space is hosted by The Mystic Krewe of Scissors & Glue from New Orleans. The space will have scissors, X-acto knives, glue, and a collection of papers and materials. Collagists are invited to bring their own supplies or use the supplies available.


Mystic Krewe of Scissors & Glue

The Mystic Krewe of Scissors & Glue, founded in 2018 by Hope Amico and Christopher Kurts, provides a community for collage artists in New Orleans to connect with each other, from people who have never collaged in their life until they attend a monthly meet-up to artists who have been working with collage for years, to activate spaces around the city with collage, to collaborate on projects, and to give back to the city of New Orleans. MORE


Saturday, November 6, 2021 | 10AM to 5PM
Sunday, November 7, 2021 | 10AM to 1PM

At the Knoxville Museum of Art | 1050 World’s Fair Park Drive MAP


Collage Congress

Saturday, November 6, 2021 | 10 to 10:30AM

Kolaj Magazine Editor Ric Kasini Kadour will welcome attendees to Kolaj LIVE Knoxville, review the schedule, and introduce the projects taking place during the event. Mark Vargo will introduce his Identiblocks: Portrait #001 project and speak about how attendees can participate. Christopher Kurts will explain the Collage Confessional.


Our Place in the World: How Collage Sorts Identity

Saturday, November 6, 2021 | 10:45AM to Noon

How does collage help us understand who we are and our place in the world? Lillian Trettin, Sharon Shapiro, and Fatima Garcia each make artwork that informs this question. Lillian Trettin and Sharon Shapiro wrestle with the idea (and history) of Southernness. Imagery of smoking in Fatima Garcia's collage are a cross-cultural bridge and a commentary on how technology is shaping who we are and how we relate to each other.

Southerner: Assembly required (no instructions): Lillian Trettin

A Southerner from East Tennessee who now lives in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Lillian Trettin is haunted by the South. After earning a doctorate in American Culture and a career in academia, Trettin became a practicing artist after retiring. Her collage on Tyvek scrolls hangs in temporary living spaces like camping tents. Her colorful cut paper collages are inspired by Southern literature and lore: Flannery O’Connor, Edgar Allan Poe, and others. At Kolaj LIVE Knoxville, Trettin will share a small collection of collages that illustrate her attempts to grapple with a personal sense of Southernness. She writes, "Southerners of all kinds have debated what it means to be 'Southern' since the Civil War and Reconstruction. Is there a definable Southern culture today? How do issues of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and class complicate any such definition? For me, it’s an unresolved personal debate."

Smoking: The collage of Fatima Garcia

Born in Mexico to Cuban parents and Spanish grandparents, Fatima Garcia now lives in Chicago, Illinois. At Kolaj LIVE Knoxville, Garcia will present a series of collages that uses the visual language of smoking as a tool of social critique. "I do not paint; I destroy to create. Strong words, but that is what I do. Why do I make my art with cigarettes? Because I practice my freedom every time I light a cigarette." She writes, "What did Picasso, Coco Chanel, Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo, Churchill, Greta Garbo, Fidel Castro have in common? Everyone smoked. They did not have cell phones...I feel the need to teach the new generations (full of stress, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, hopelessness, worries) how happy, creative, free and inventive we were when we could smoke anywhere. It is to show them that technology is equal to or more destructive than cigarettes. It is to show new generations how electronic devices dry our sensations, affections, passions, feelings and sensitivities."

Nostalgia & Memory: Sharon Shapiro

"A visual storyteller, Sharon Shapiro creates work that embodies what it means to have grown up as a white woman in the American South in the 1980s--well after segregation was no longer the law, yet still lived every day," wrote Elyana Shamselangeroodi in Kolaj 32. "Her work confronts the past and examines the present using nostalgia and memory. She often uses artifice, including patterns and decoration, to compel her viewer to stay both within and outside the narrative. Her work contributes to visual culture by raising questions and awareness of societal norms." From Charlottesville, Virginia, Shapiro will share her current work and speak about how she uses collage to explore gender, race, identity, and womanhood.


Fabric & Nature

Saturday, November 6, 2021, 12:30 to 1:30PM

Collage as Feminist Practice: Marika Christofides

From Lexington, Kentucky, Marika Christofides "uses illustrations from feminine-coded mid-century print ephemera, which she translates into print-based works." She writes, "My work abstracts the structures of bio-scientific knowledge production, representing philosophical questions of identity, ontology, and epistemology through a feminist lens...I consider my work as part of a longer lineage of feminist collage-based practices, from the dada-ist collages of Hannah Höch to the riot grrrl movement and zine culture." At Kolaj LIVE Knoxville, Christofides will present her artwork and discuss the history of collage as a feminist practice.

Christofides will be joined by Lou Haney and Sanchana Krishnan.

Pattern and Decoration: Lou Haney

From Charlottesville, Virginia, Lou Haney's artwork comes from a "love of interior design and is heavily influenced by the feminist movement of Pattern and Decoration." Her recent work draws on her past experience working as an interior designer in a small southern town. The installation combined "all of my interests, encompassing printmaking, embroidery, found objects, textiles, photography, drawing, and painting." She writes, "By turning wallpaper into a psychedelic painting and taking flat strips into a dimensional drapery painting, I added texture and dimension to inherently flat surfaces." In doing this, Haney pulls from a history of quilting and applique that predates Picasso. She will present her own work and how "looking at the work of Bisa Butler, Coulter Fussell, and Luke Haynes, one can see the possibilities of fabric collage that compete visually with painting."

Collage as a Tool for Social Justice: Sanchana Krishnan

From New York City, Sanchana Krishnan will share collages she's made over the past two years, ignited during the worst of the pandemic's endless lockdown in New York. Her work serves as an honest commentary on today's sociocultural climate in America (and across the globe)--from climate change to religious monopoly, as well as identity explorations--into her life as a queer, Indian, mental health professional with lived experience of mental illness. Language plays a crucial part of Krishnan's collage. She does not pre-decide the words--she cuts words, phrases and images that speak to her, and creates pieces resplendent with radical honesty. She will speak about "art as a tool for social justice and identity formation, and as a practice of honoring and reconnecting human with nature," a topic about which she is deeply passionate.

After presenting their work, Christofides, Haney, Krishnan will lead a discussion about collage as a feminist practice. How does such a view inform our understanding of the medium's history? How do the material choices of artists inform our experience of their artwork? How can collage be a tool for social justice?

Salvatore Meo, Hands Upward, 1954-73, painted wood, rubber gloves, yarn, painted foam ball, 15 x 11 x 10.75 inches. Acquired 2017; Collection of the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Pavel Zoubok Gallery.


The Underexplored Collagist:
Salvatore Meo (1914-2004)

Saturday, November 6, 2021, 1:45 to 2:15PM

Hidden from history for some sixty years, Salvatore Meo represents a significant evolution in the post-war narrative of collage and assemblage. A proto-Arte Povera artist, Meo’s primary materials were discarded objects found on the street: torn fabric, rusted metal, wood, clothing scraps, dolls, bones, and dresser drawers. Included in the landmark 1961 Museum of Modern Art exhibition "The Art of Assemblage" featuring Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, and Pablo Picasso, Meo exhibited in the US and Italy regularly until the 1970s. After his early success, and as Pop Art rose, Meo rejected the art world and became a recluse but continued to produce work in obscurity in his Roman studio until his death at age ninety. At Kolaj LIVE Knoxville, Kelli Bodle, Assistant Curator at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Florida, will present Meo’s extraordinary career and posthumous preservation and resurrection of his career made possible through the efforts of his friend, the artistic director of Sala 1, Italy’s oldest non-profit art space.


Collage Pedagogy: Teaching Collage

Saturday, November 6, 2021, 2:30 to 3:15PM

How do we teach collage? How is collage being used to teach art? These are some of the questions being raised during this panel. University professors Joshua Field and Billy Renkl will join Kolaj Institute Coordinator Christopher Kurts for a discussion about the collage pedagogy.

Joshua Field is a nationally and internationally exhibited artist and Assistant Professor of Foundations and Foundations Coordinator at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville. He writes, "My work examines the human condition by twisting the familiar ways in which elements are rendered or arranged leading to the suggestion of disjunctive narrative" At Kolaj LIVE Knoxville, he will present a paper on the role of collage in the higher education art studio-classroom. "I have used collage as an integral part of both my own studio practice and my Foundations and 2D Design curriculum. While I frequently talk about the role of collage in my work, I rarely get the opportunity to talk about the power of collage to transform the way that college art students engage with creative ideation, mindful appropriation, compositional experimentation. Collage has proven invaluable in helping students build confidence, develop methods of 'serious play', and ultimately become more competent creative problem solvers and image makers."

Collage artist Billy Renkl teaches drawing, illustration, and collage at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Encoded in his work is a deep understanding of paper as a cultural force. He writes, "Paper carries its history in a moving way. It is like a body: it ages, gets scarred, bears the marks of what has happened to it, an indication of the person that owned it and how they used it." In addition to sharing his art practice, at Kolaj LIVE Knoxville, Renkl will speak about the prompts he uses in the university classes he teaches—many of which are based on historical precedents like Kurt Schwitters, Max Ernst, Hannah Höch—and examples of student work made from the prompts.
From New Orleans, Louisiana, Christopher Kurts is a storyteller, artist, and co-founder and lead organizer of The Mystic Krewe of Scissors and Glue, a group of creatives in New Orleans who meet monthly to collage, converse and foster community. In his capacity as Coordinator for Kolaj Institute, Kurts has been leading residencies and workshops around such topics as curating, illustration, street art, and politics. Rooted in Paulo Freire's theories of popular education, the working artists in these spaces are exploring ideas and learning new skills; often teaching and learning from each other as much as from the faculty and guest speakers. Kurts will share some of his observations and what he has learned about how collage is taught.

Collages by Rashad Ali Muhammad & Danielle Cole


Empty Columns Tour

Saturday, November 6, 2021, 3:30 to 4:00PM

Artists Ashley Pryor and Christopher Kurts will join curator Ric Kasini Kadour to give a tour of the exhibition, "Empty Columns Are a Place to Dream", and discuss how the project came to be, what it meant to participate, and where it is going next, and how you can get involved. (See exhibition for more information.)

Birth Painting by Julie Heffernan. Knoxville Museum of Art, 1999 purchase with funds provided by KMA Collectors Circle


Uncollage Tour

Saturday, November 6, 2021, 4:00 to 5:00PM

Uncollage is the idea that artists have, for a very long time, used collage operations to make art. Such practices often include a masking process to make the collage elements unseen. In the pages of Kolaj Magazine and at Kolaj Fest New Orleans, Todd Bartel has been unpacking and exploring the idea of Uncollage and the artists who use this practice. Starting with the exhibition, "Under Construction: Collage from the Mint Museum", Bartel will take us on a tour of the Knoxville Museum of Art and focus on those artists whose respective practices “are dependent upon collecting images and employing collage processes that are not always visibly evident in the work. Artists such as these, and many more, prompt us to expand the definition of collage and divide the term to attribute some of its wider applications.” Looking at art in this way unveils the deep impact collage has had throughout art history.

Todd Bartel is a collage-based artist. His work assumes assembled forms of painting, drawing and sculpture that examine the roles of landscape and nature in contemporary culture. Since 2002, Bartel has taught drawing, painting, sculpture, installation art and conceptual art at the Cambridge School of Weston, Weston, Massachusetts. He is the founder and the Director of the Cambridge School’s Thompson Gallery, a teaching gallery dedicated to thematic inquiry, and “IS” (Installation Space), a proposal-based installation gallery. Bartel holds a BFA in painting from Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in painting from Carnegie Mellon University.


Collage Techniques

Sunday, November 7, 2021, 10:00 to 11:30AM

On Sunday morning, collage artists will share unique collage techniques.

Luscious Encaustic: Beth Guipe Hall

From Indianapolis, Indiana, Beth Guipe Hall makes luscious, sometimes abstract works from old postcards, photo albums, and other ephemera often found in antique and thrift shops that she scans and prints on Japanese printmaking papers. These collages are then bolstered using an encaustic wax technique which lends them a dreamy, finished quality. In this session at Kolaj LIVE Knoxville, Guipe Hall will present her art practice. Later, in the afternoon, she will lead a full, 2-hour workshop for those who want to learn more.

Enhanced Collage: Jean Hess

From Knoxville, Tennessee, Jean Hess' collage work is influenced by her studies in cultural anthropology. She is known for her experiments with found materials in collage, mixed-media paintings, abstract textiles, and three-dimensional constructions. She will share her strategies for enhancing collage as well as using collage to expand other disciplines. She writes, "At its best collage is a disruptive force that leads inevitably to experimentation as one scrambles to 'correct' or incorporate the unexpected. Collage can contribute interest and mystery to paintings, assemblages, drawings, textiles and other art forms. Small passages hidden among other media evoke a sense of mystery and surprise. On the other hand, as a goal in and of itself, a finished collage can be greatly enhanced by the use of paint, ink, pencil, natural materials like pressed plants, dry pigments, and especially layers of acrylic resin to add resonance and depth to the composition."

Do Doodling, Digital: Thomas Gillespie

When Thomas Gillespie started out, he worked mostly with clay, cardboard and found objects. He writes, "I have made art with glaziers putty, dead nutria, waffles, hot sauce and a bunch of other stuff over the years, a lot of them." Now his practice is entirely digital. "I do doodling, digital collage with neural styling using AI mostly." Gillespie will speak about his practice and introduce us to some of the tools he uses to make his art: DeepDream, Playform, TensorFlow. He will also share with us his experience with the NFT movement on the Blockchain.


Great Collage Swap

Sunday, November 7, 2021 | 11:30AM to 12:30PM

The Great Collage Swap is a way to get to know other collagists and their work and be able to take some of their artwork home with you. The Swap happens Sunday morning at Knoxville Museum of Art. To participate, bring a collage to exchange to the Info Table before 11AM Sunday. In return, you will be given a number. All of the collages will be displayed in museum. During the program, a collage will be selected and matched with a number and the holder of that number will receive the collage. As the collages are matched, each artist has a chance to share their story.


Kolaj Institute Info Session

Sunday, November 7, 2021 | 12:30 to 1PM

Want to know more about getting involved with Kolaj Institute? Perhaps you are curious about joining a residency or taking a workshop? Maybe you want to contribute to or be featured in Kolaj Magazine? This session is for you. Editor Ric Kasini Kadour and Kolaj Institute Coordinator Christopher Kurts will lead an information session about upcoming programs and artist opportunities.



Encaustic Collage Workshop

Sunday, November 7, 2021, 1:00 to 3:00PM

Participants in this workshop will learn how to use encaustic medium (encaustic without pigment) as an adhesive and a transfer medium. After sharing the history of encaustic, Beth Guipe Hall will demonstrate how to apply the medium, embed paper into the wax surface, fuse the surface with each application of medium, and three different transfer techniques. Working on 12x12 Masonite panels, participants will make an encaustic collage they can take home with them.

About the instructor: Continuing a lifelong interest in collage, artist and educator Beth Guipe Hall has been experimenting with encaustic since 2006 to create 2D art in three dimensions. Her pieces incorporate mixed media and successive layers of natural beeswax, both clear and pigmented, painstakingly applied by brush and sealed with heat. The work has been shown at galleries and events from New York to Miami to Hong Kong. She holds an MA in ceramics from the University of Indianapolis and maintains a studio at the Harrison Center in Indianapolis. www.bethguipehall.com

Note: Space is limited. RSVP required. The material cost of this workshop is $15 for registered participants of Kolaj LIVE Knoxville or $25 for the general public. To sign-up, send an email or speak to someone at the Kolaj LIVE Knoxville Information Desk. First come, first serve and we will create a waiting list if all the spaces are filled.


Kolaj LIVE Online is possible through the support of members of the Silver Scissors & Golden Glue Societies whose monthly pledge sustains the organization. JOIN TODAY!

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About Kolaj Institute

The mission of Kolaj Institute is to support artists, curators, and writers who seek to study, document, & disseminate ideas that deepen our understanding of collage as a medium, a genre, a community, and a 21st century movement. We operate a number of initiatives meant to bring together community, investigate critical issues, and raise collage’s standing in the art world.


About Kolaj Magazine

Kolaj Magazine is a quarterly, printed, art magazine reviewing and surveying contemporary collage with an international perspective. We are interested in collage as a medium, a genre, a community, and a 21st century art movement. Kolaj is published in Montreal, Quebec by Maison Kasini. Visit Kolaj Magazine online.


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