Cella Neapolitan                                                          

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After years of desiring  ~  and collecting paper and other materials  ~  I began to create collages in 2006.


"Here Comes the Plate Spinner"         11 x 15 in.         Cella Neapolitan 2006

My first piece was juried into Chicago’s Woman Made Gallery for its Here Comes the Bride exhibit in June.  As a longtime collector of vintage wedding photographs and former wedding photographer, I was delighted to take on the creative challenge of this theme.  The image of woman as plate spinner ~ now successfully, now frantically ~ came to me in the midst of a recent crisis.  The names of the plates are culled from a 1950's etiquette book:  The Agreeable Wife, The Family, Friends, Household Management, Your Public Service, Special Problems (my personal favorite) and The Woman Executive.  It seems to me that brides are likely not aware of all these ‘unregistered’ plates that wives and mothers must spin.



"Five-Star Quartet"         14 x 18 in.         Cella Neapolitan 2006

This piece was created for a group show called Mugs.  Immediately thinking of the face connotation, I went to my collection of vintage photographs.  The best ‘mugs’ were those of turn-of-the-century men with outrageous moustaches.  That’s when the concept of moustache mugs arose, which triggered memories and research on such related elements as barbershop quartets and the early 1970's.  So you’ll see here influences of Warhol, Rauschenberg, and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s personae.  ‘Quartet’ was a very complex project ~ in design, color and techniques in PhotoShop and then ink transfer ~ but I am very pleased with the result.


"WCTE ~ World Class Television for Everyone"     12 x 12 in.     Cella Neapolitan 2006

My third collage was commissioned by WCTE-TV, the PBS station for the Upper Cumberland, Tennessee.  As one of a dozen artists recruited for the year-long “logo project,” I welcomed the opportunity to create a collage using the station’s distinctive logo.  In addition to use in local promotion, the twelve artworks have been published on Current, educational television’s website.

I have always thought that WCTE’s logo was strong and reminiscent of a lighthouse whose beam brightens the homes of our region.   My original conception revolved around the notion of public television bringing the world to its viewers.   So I went through my collection of vintage maps and happily found one of the world whose arcs mirrored those of the logo’s hills.  I also fortuitously had an old Tennessee map postcard.  As the piece came together in my mind, the acronymic title came in a brainstorm and I found the perfect vintage button to cap off the collage.  What I like best about this piece is the black ink overlaying the beautiful pastel palette of vintage maps.  


“Wonderful Things for Little Girls, Circa 1965”     16 x 20 in.     Cella Neapolitan 2006

This collage combines things of wonder that came together serendipitously.  It began with the purchase of a vintage toy set whose elements intrigued me as much as the concept.  While you’ll sense wryness here, there is also fond memory of these little plastic tokens.  The wonder theme plays out in Wonder Woman, her Lariat of Truth and ideal goals.  Her wonder extends to the fact that she leapt from comic books for boys to the premiere cover of Ms. magazine.  That’s some super-heroine!

 The little girl in the photograph is me.  Thanks to vintage photo corners, the image can be changed, making this a living, customizable piece.  I also find it a fun yet thought-provoking one. I wonder … what does this set of objects say about American culture in 1965 … what did the Boys set include … is that a Beatle near the rotisserie … what subtle and not-so-subtle influences are we raining down on our children today ~ positive, negative, innocuous, puzzling?



Window Shopping, Italian-Style”     30 x 6 x 2 in.     Cella Neapolitan 2006

My fifth collage is more of an assemblage and reflects my trip to Venice and the Veneto in May 2005.  

Shop windows are a favored subject whenever I travel.  Nowhere are they more artistic than in Italy, so I knew I wanted to do something special with these photographs.  After gilding the box and lining it in fine Italian papers, I set the images like jewels in its compartments.  The glass piece in the third window is one I selected on the island of Murano ... the lettered ‘la finestra’ means ‘window.’

 I find that shop windows can also be windows to a culture, with these showing the Italian affinity for food and fashion.  And I believe their palette similarity to that of the papers is beyond serendipity.  Italian style is unmistakable and somehow as classic as it is current.

“An Artist Reflects”               @ 12 x 16 in.               Cella Neapolitan  2006

I achieved my goal of six collages in ’06 with this piece.  The wood palette was provided by artist friend Durinda Cheek for her Georgia gallery’s Spring Palette show in 2007.  An artist’s palette reflects … her inner world, her outer world, how she sees both, how they connect, her passions, her fears, dreams and ideas, humor and secrets, history, age, mind, heart and soul, thrills, spills, colors, shapes, patterns, puzzles, stories, whatever is unique and universal in her being.

This piece evolved more than others from original conception. The notion of Pluto being dropped from our solar system, with the erstwhile planet represented by the oval void, somehow became a watery spiral (brain) with a vintage moon-glow button (eye) in the palette’s thumb hole.  Rather than use my own photography in the piece, I elected to use a 1960’s encyclopedic entry on photography, partly because it was in line with the other drawings and ads of that era.  The tiny mirrors were always a part of the plan, and I love how they make it a living piece, ever changing with the light and surroundings. And how cool is it that the number of mirrors turned out to be my age in 2007 ?!

Also dropped was an ink transfer from Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece I did position the palette to reflect the character and will leave you with my favorite quote from the philosophical book:  

"Oh my, now that it was complete, it could not sing at all."