Paul Bright

Winston-Salem, NC


1. past participle of draw
drawn adjective
ˈdrȯn  , ˈdrän

2. showing the effects of tension, pain, or illness
Stretched, strained, lined

To let issue forth or bring up (e.g. drawing water)

Drawn to; drawn into
Attracted, pulled towards; involved, seduced, implicated

To pull away from (see decollage)

Drawing (without a pencil)

When I moved from lithography - in which I had created figurative works realized with traditional drawing approaches - to making collages, I was asked if I missed the activity of drawing. But I realized that I was still applying the principles and actions of drawing by tearing and cutting the material itself. This kind of “drawing” is tactile, haptic, dimensional. It occurs while directly forming and contouring the sheets and crusty laminations of paper I now use. These “drawn” elements  - the rips, tears, cuts and edges, whether produced by my hand, someone else’s, or by the elements and already present in the found material - are among the defining characteristics of the collages.

My collages also sometimes incorporate “meta-drawings”; parts of reproductions of drawings by other artists, further layering the work and the tension between what is “found” and what is “made.” And as it turns out, the “figure” was never really lost in my work’s transition from traditionally drawn images to collage. Fractured text and partial images of bodies - “figures” abstract and representational - are enmeshed in the materials, surfaces and layers of the collages, their shapes defined by a great variety of linear edges and boundaries.

(It’s interesting to note that, before the term collage was applied widely to art, the artist and master collagist Kurt Schwitters frequently labelled and numbered his works in collage as a species of drawing, his Merzzeichnungen (Merz drawings).

As an artist Paul Bright is interested mostly in permutations of “the found.” He adopted collage early as his primary approach and continues to employ it in material works often formed from de-collaged and collected paper elements, and in aural collages composed from sound he records. His work has been presented in the US, Germany, England, Italy, Switzerland, Scotland, and Canada, and is part of several museum and numerous private collections. Bright was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from the University of South Carolina. His non-artist professional life began with work in art museums while in college, and has additionally encompassed tenures in history museums and arts centers as well as art museums and galleries. He has worked as an exhibition and design director, and curator. This multifaceted experience coalesces in his current role as the Director of Galleries and Programming at Wake Forest University.

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