The Free Press, Mankato, MN


October 27, 2013

Peace by pieces: MSU English professor, author, artist unveils first solo art exhibit at SCC

MSU English professor, author, artist unveils first solo art exhibit at SCC


Barry is a cartoonist, a collage artist, a graphic novelist and the author of 17 books. Of those books, the one that resonated the most with Joseph, a published author herself, was “What It Is,” a memoir, collage and how-to-guide in one.

In it, Barry writes, “Sometimes we are so confused and sad that all we can do is glue one thing to another. Use white glue and paper from the trash, glue paper onto paper, glue scraps and bits of fabric, have a tragic movie playing in the background, have a comforting drink nearby, let the thing you are doing be nothing, you are making nothing at all, you are just keeping your hands in motion, putting one thing down and then the next thing down and sometimes crying in between.”

Through this advice from Barry, Joseph started making collages. At first she glued paper onto paper, then onto canvas and then onto the backs of clipboards. She found something satisfying about cutting tiny images from different mediums and creating something new.

“When I was in the midst of postpartum depression, I would have said I found it soothing. But now I can see a metaphor at work: my sense of self had been fragmented,” she said. “What I needed to do was find a way to rearrange the pieces.”

Making the collages helped Joseph a great deal, and even after recovering from her postpartum depression, she continues to create them. 	Joseph's exhibit

Joseph’s exhibit came to the SCC gallery when Michelle Johnson, an SCC art instructor, first saw the pictures that Joseph had posted of her work on Facebook.

“I was compelled by the whimsy and the narrative of the work,” Johnson said.

All the art is very colorful, and when looked at up close, it has a visible texture to it. The art itself is made up of Jenga blocks that have been covered with different layers of images cut from vintage magazines, newspapers, catalogues, postcards and more.

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