Billy Renkl – Night Flight (2010)

A collage by Alabama artist Billy Renkl, who writes:

It is important to the meaning of my work that a viewer understand the components of the collages have had a former life as objective information (that this is a page from a botany textbook published in 1820, for instance, rather than a reproduction of that page).

An old star chart, sketches of birds and flowers, an archive grasped from its obsolescence and stitched together into “something imprecise but now filled with metaphor.” The image evokes a sort of nostalgia for these prosaic attempts to illustrate and organize a world in which distances were infinitely greater, a simultaneous regression into a distant past and our youth amidst didactic books, where an image opened whole new worlds. The simple artistry of these ancient printing techniques becomes a work of art once again, if not for the first time, preserved now in this new form which lures the viewer with its simple lines, a neatness born of material necessity returning as a forgotten discipline of elegance.

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