ASSEMBLAGE  by Nick De Palma


Assemblage, the three dimensional cousin to collage, utilizes preformed natural or manufactured components, commonly referred to as 'found objects'. The history of this art form is well documented. My introduction to it took place while traveling in Vermont. I came across an old fashioned hand-drill in a second hand store. Turned at an angle, with its red wheel juxtapsed against a contoured steel shaft, the drill appeared to me as a complete sculpture. I experienced this state of perception by voluntarily setting aside my recognition of the tool's original purpose.

I decided to purchase the item and soon began to explore how it might relate to other chosen objects. Spatial relationships began to emerge and as they grew in number, a new more complex order was established. Objects were forced to subordinate their original identity to a larger context, something more commanding. Interpretation of the overall piece was no longer limited to the identification of individual objects. This transformative process is what I wish to communicate to viewers.

Visual perception, involving the interplay between site and interpretation, is grounded in multiple academic disciplines. My interest in the subject began in college where I dedicated myself to the study of psychology and art. This background has proven to be useful to me in guiding decisions on how to construct and interpret my work. In studying viewers' reaction, I have noticed that their initial response to the work is often based on the recognition of a single familiar object. However, upon continued viewing their interpretation broadens to include relationships formed from relationships between objects in combination This more detailed viewing is often accompanied by some degree of surprise and amusement, realizing that "things are not always as they first appear".

Titles to the work, often common cliches, are offered to suggest how I see a particular work Although varied, I often find that my sculpture evokes a viewer response that is very close to my own. This common experience reinforces my belief that the viewer's reaction is essential in validating the artist's work. It is at this interactive stage, where viewer meets art, that the art becomes whole.