Observing things from above helps me make sense of relationships that I might otherwise miss. To visualize a ‘layout’ like a map allows me to play with information that can be extracted to one layer and abstracted in ways to multiply other effects and meanings beyond those directly observed. The experiments with layering are not as literal as collage, but some of the same process ideas apply to the decisions as the paintings evolve, where intentional definitions meet accidental juxtapositions and develop their own stimulus for a response. Of course, the homogeneity of paint media eliminates the dynamic of overlapping edges, but that challenge to engage within a single surface is something compelling to try. The work in this exhibit includes a variety of investigations, including some sequential observations from a single hike up New Hampshire’s Mt. Lafayette in the fall. The paintings from the hike are called ‘CRACKS’ and are based on zoomed-in observations and sketches taken at various geologic strains and erosion areas, as well as some new plant regeneration zones between rocks. These ‘CRACK’ paintings imply close range, but some could easily be interpreted as aerial views of Yosemite or someplace in the Alaskan ranges. Also included in the exhibit are pieces characterizing greater distances and that are specific to a particular air-scape/land-scape, where human intervention meets natural phenomena. The sense of location is named in the respective titles, but the place ideas are generalized more to reflect time, weather and lighting circumstances that may be consonant to those places. Finally, two pieces experiment with the fracturing of the atmosphere related to flying and are called ‘THERMALS’. These two pieces attempt to give a sense of a turning ascent in a glider above some of the same hikes in New Hampshire, previously walked, but from the detachment of being in the air at altitude. Having a background in design as an architect, as well as experience as a pilot has tempered and influenced many aspects of most of my work. I’m particularly interested in how patterns in nature relate to human designed patterns and how those two engage each other. How the interface of natural and designed patterns contributes to the specific character of a place or experience through the details of weather, light elevation change and context provide infinite material for these investigations.

Steve Imrich holds a Master of Architecture from MIT and a BA from Goddard College with a concentration in Studio Arts and History. He studied painting, drawing and sculpture at Goddard before focusing on architecture and design studies. Imrich is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a LEED AP and has practiced as a designer and architect before setting off to painting full time. Steve also has a background as a commercial pilot and many of his paintings recollect memories of landform, atmosphere, and pattern recognition from flying. His current work experiments with interactions between designed and natural patterns and how that interaction may characterize a place. Steve lives and paints in Cambridge/Somerville, Massachusetts.



Exhibition Artist(s):

Alexandra Sheldon, Steve Imrich

Exhibition Reception Date:

February 24

Exhibition Opening:

February 24

Exhibition End Date:

March 24

Exhibition Year:




Stuff under, stuff over, things falling into, falling out of. Pieces stuck on, pieces clinging, falling, dragging, thrown down, plotted and heavy. Collage can be light, pretty, angelic, dim and turbulent. Funny, silly, serious, inert, alive, conversational, quiet, peaceful, serene, disorganised, woven, meshed, floating, loud, angry, happy, imbalanced, violent, upset and joyful, realistic or abstract.

Collage is like a water faucet pouring all these words and energies at different times or all at once. I am working in my studio and I’m sieving, explaining, describing and telling with my hands and my eyes. I’m recombining, materialising, shaping and organising from piles of old drawings, prints, painted papers and sometimes trash (envelopes, ads, newspapers, magazines, images and stuff found on the floor of my studio). It’s a windstorm of activity; this sticking of stuff together. Years of exercises, teaching demo’s, sketches, anything, goes into the mix. I sort through piles like a hamster, noisy and industrious, trying combinations, putting colors together, feeling my way toward a resolution.

I feel it in my stomach, whether it’s right or just a possibility. Every move I make in a collage changes everything else. My eyes are working too. Constant looking, constant checking. Putting the work on the wall and standing back. Going close. Standing back again. A corner is weak or vague, not enough or too much. It got too dark. It needs light. It is a process of problem solving. The hands are busy too. As when I close my eyes and try to cut paper shapes without looking much (inspired by my 6 year old grandson who cuts paper shapes with a ferocious and fast unthinking mastery).

It’s a 3 ring circus: hands, eyes and stomach. Usually thoughts only interfere. What helps is to abandon myself to the collaboration with the materials. Does this paper feel right? How is this color next to this other color? The texture is flat here, it needs something.

I want exploration. I want to be surprised in my studio. I want to make things I’ve never made before. I want to push. It feels like channeling and throwing stuff around and allowing accidents to happen.

Artists call it the “Zone”: a getting carried away. Not unlike kayaking where you are pulled along and lots of things happen or nothing much happens but in any case you surrender and are pulled by the current.

It’s a mystery, this urge to make. My hands itch to make. I don’t know why. I don’t ask why anymore. I have been blocked a million times and I’ve developed ways to get in the Zone. So this is what I teach: ways to work and get into a flow.

Alexandra Sheldon is an artist and teacher who lives in Cambridge, MA. She specializes in teaching collage and mixed media.