Opening Reception–Ex Voto Suscepto–SVHC Cancer Center, Bennington, Vermont. Photography by Tim Cooley.Fina

Mike Kornelsen


When I first saw the photographs Mike took of me, they were all so uplifting. They say as much about him-or more even-than they say about me. They show his love and his light, his optimism and his presence in the moment. His photos helped me to see aspects of myself in a way I’d never have seen on my own. Mike has a special gift for portrait photography. It was —unbeknownst to me—a pivotal night, cooking in his kitchen, while he rapid fire snapped a couple hundred shots. Mike’s recent exhibit in Denver which included these photographs, along with others of Jon and I during that time, was aptly titled, Images of Life.



Collage, the juxtaposition and application of found materials on a two-dimensional surface, is considered to be among the most innovative artistic techniques of the twentieth century. The term “collage” derives from the French verb coller, which means “to stick” or “to glue.” The Cubists, the Futurists, the Dadaists, and the Constructivists all explored its creative potential, and today it is used by many artists in diverse artistic pursuits.

By the utilization of unconventional materials, such as newspapers, wire, found objects, recycled items, and even things like sequins and fabric, attention is called to the texture and materiality of the preexisting objects used while simultaneously enacting a radical rejection of traditional notions of originality and purity. By integrating everyday objects and texts on contemporary events, the boundaries between the art world and the outside world are complicated and diffused, thus questioning the autonomy of a work of art, and highlighting the sense of long-term collaboration in any piece.

I was introduced to collage as a therapuetic technique during the grant supported art therapy sessions with Beth Newman offered through SVHC Cancer Center and Integrative Therapies departments. As my ability to paint large, standing at the easel diminished, and as the dexamethasone nights frayed the edges of my mental and physical reserves, the sound of tearing paper in the night and the feeling of acrylic gels on my fingertips increasingly became the norm as collage became the perfect visual effect to encode what was happening to me inside. It also enabled me to use the materials that presented themselves, rather than traditional art supplies. In other words, I needed to use free stuff, found stuff, even when it came to the supports. The windows came from various sources, including the Fortney’s front yard and TrueLove Farm. For the Breast Cancer Playing Cards, I had to spend a dollar for a deck of Harrah’s Las Vegas poker cards.

The individual works presented in the window panes were mined from the art therapy sessions and from the extensive collage journals—which also included photographs, artifacts and realia saved during diagnosis and treatment. Many of the collages also appear in the comic book, The Adventures of My Left Breast.

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viola moriarty

(American, b. 1958)
Modern Expressionist Painter
2012-13 Recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant

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Current and ongoing: New Works, Allegro Ristorante in Bennington on Main Street.

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