Sunday, February 27, 2011

A New Look at Recycled Foam Tiles

Over the past year or two I have been taking foam meat trays, cutting them into four inches squares, then distressing the surface with acetone.  The textured tiles then get abstract paint treatments, and sometime I collage on skeletonized leaves or other natural materials.  The finished tiles are preserved with acrylic varnish, then mounted with a floating mat.  The finished pieces are 11x11 inches, and are unique and eye-catching - though hard to capture well in a photo.

I have recently been taking the tiles in a new direction.  I recently complete a series of six, and instead of distressing the surface of the foam tiles, I have been painting each square with black gesso, then adding collaged elements in a limited palette of black, buff, red and sometimes gold.  The simple compositions looked oriental to me, so I asked a friend in San Francisco to mail me a Chinese newspaper, and I have been using some text for added interest.  I do not know what any of it says, but I'm not too concerned about anyone translating the little snippets.  I suspect they are advertisements.  Anyway, these tile use colored bits of paper doilies, cardboard, some stamping, some home textured tissue papers, and bits of salvaged wallpaper.  I like the idea that all the materials are recycled from materials that might otherwise be tossed in the trash.

Each tile will be mounted on a brushed gold back board, with a black mat floating around the completed tile.  I'm excited about the new direction this sort of work is taking.

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