The concepts and techniques of collage underlie Christina Stahr’s work. The artist combines fragments of cultural and historical significance with segments of personal meaning to create abstract collages on paper, stretched canvas and free-hanging fabrics. She has also created wall-mounted collages, walkable labyrinths, installations and site-specific projects.
Christina Stahr assembles recognizable materials such as product wrappers, book pages, clothing, fabric, threads and gold leaf into tactile experiential collages. Edges are torn, folded, and cropped. Individual segments are layered, pinned, sewn and glued. Surfaces are painted, wrapped or covered with gold leaf. They reveal the evident reassembling of individual fragments, memories and experiences.
As an artist and a scholar, she is inspired by the history of art, architecture and biology and her work evokes material, symbolic and ecological connections.
She is fascinated by biological processes that transmute one substance into another, such as photosynthesis, lactogenesis and silk production, and perceives these metamorphic processes to be analogous to a studio practice in which she transforms discarded materials into sensorial works of art. Recent work responds directly to the risk of environmental collapse.
Christina Stahr’s collages have been exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions and are in private, corporate, and museum collections. She earned a Ph.D. in art history at Columbia University, and lives and works in New York City.
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Please see the artists further works below:
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This group of four collages suggests roses that are falling, unbound, in an indeterminate space. Begun during the summer of 2011, as the tenth anniversary of the attacks on New York’s Twin Towers approached, I was intuitively responding to our shared recollections of the horrific events of 9/11 and the chaos and confusion that followed. Beautiful though they may be, unbound flowers, dropping undone, impart a somber finality. Gravity.
These collages recall Baroque paintings of angels showering martyrs with roses from heaven at the moment of their greatest suffering before death – the moment of “passion”. Even a decade later, I could only obliquely envision the horror of those who jumped from the Towers, and solemnly honor their memories.
“Everything Will Be Back”
Created during the early months of Covid 19 outbreak, the title of this sewn collage refers to the return of “everything” that we have missed during the pandemic lockdowns, while also acknowledging that there are institutions, practices and viewpoints that we don’t want to have back again.
Commercial packaging materials, bright plastic bags, printed paper wrappers and shiny aluminum foils were machine sewn and quilted onto a large free-hanging fabric, suggesting the scale and comfort of a traditional quilt while also appearing chaotic and contingent.
Abstract in its overall composition, the layout of this collage emphasizes the downward cascade of disposable wrappers initially used to pack and ship foods such as chocolate, coffee, oranges, and avocados. Imported from distant continents – and former colonies – we are reminded that our detritus will also come back to us.
Confined and secluded at home during the pandemic, we were thrown into an intensive domesticity to which the food products and sewing techniques allude. In a seeming contradiction to our feelings of isolation, we were in fact, all connected by the flow of goods, viruses and digital information around the world.
Artist Christina Stahr is interviewed by Art Historian Sylvia Laudien-Meo and Günter Maislinger