Cubism and collage

By GREG COOK  |  February 24, 2010

One collage features a pistol atop a bubbly white image, scraps of black and white polka dots, and rust brown paint strokes. Waldrop's art often seems to be about the abstract play of colors, like a collage including four vertical stripes of paper on cardboard — yellow, red, orange, and then yellow again. A little white plant is glued on the left yellow stripe. The vertical rhythm is accented by an overlapping horizontal scrap of sheet music coming in from the right. I believe it's an old Christian hymn: "When will the tedious night be gone? And when the dawn arise?"

You feel around for connections with Waldrop's poetry, which has frequently included phrases he found in other writing. And a few collages seem obviously influenced by Surrealist art like Max Ernst's collages made from cut-up 19th-century engravings. Others may owe something to the lyrical, romanticism of Jess and Joseph Cornell's collages. But Waldrop's work is perhaps most akin to Kurt Schwitter's abstract collages, though Waldrop's don't have that kind of oomph. In the end, they feel like amusing diversions from a significant writer, rather than significant art in their own right.

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