Illustrated Wildlife Treasury is a collage project that playfully explores human impact on and interaction with nature. A $5 Davis Flea market discovery inspired Mary Lewey to turn all 352 vintage animal cards into collages. Images from magazines of all types and eras are layered on top of the original card, giving the Treasury renewed meaning and purpose.
Finding the Treasury’s original green plastic carrying case with the honey badger card front and center felt full of possibilities. It was the chance to reuse something interesting, but outdated. It challenged Lewey to be a more disciplined artist. It became a form of meditation, a chance to separate from the day-to-day and lose track of time. “At first, the point to the project was to see if I could do it. Now that I know I can, that I did, and it’s all on display in one room, I am struck by how each collage is more meaningful than that. Each one is funny, a bit sad, and sometimes surreal.”
About the size of a polaroid or pocket-sized notebook, collages in the Treasury are full of humor and nostalgia. Some compositions, like “Bedbug,” are busy with many patterns and graphics for the eye to absorb. Others, like “Urania Moth,” are satisfyingly simple. Both styles and those in between are meant to amuse, hopefully delight, the viewer.
“Illustrated Wildlife Treasury” opens Saturday, October 3, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. A closing reception with live music from Andrew Saturday of Bent Shapes takes place on Thursday, October 29, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.