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Artist Brian Gordon — Chaos Put Into Perspective

Stand-up comic turned collage artist, Brian Gordon, talks about his show and his art on display this month at CinemaSalem.

The entire month of December, is displaying work by artist Brian Gordon.

Gordon is a Salem resident and former stand-up comedian. In his career as a comedian, he performed all over the country and also appeared in an episode of "Last Comic Standing."

Gordon's current medium is hand-cut collage.

"It sprang from the burnout I was experiencing making other art," he said in his artist's statement. "I thought collage would be a great way to free my mind and let my instincts take over with no fear of there being a right or wrong to what I was doing."

The materials used in his expansive, detailed and playful pieces are entirely vintage. Using an X-acto knife and a pair of scissors, Gordon cuts out shapes and characters from 1920s photographs, 1950s detergent advertisements, sci-fi comics, reference books and old magazines, such as "The Saturday Evening Post, which he brings together in a single scene.

The result is a barrage of color and action. Each piece on display has its own unique color palate, sense of depth and is the product of approximately 18 to 30 hours of work each.

Gordon began his foray into collage art first by making personalized envelopes for friends. He described a situation in his life back in 1991 where he failed out of laziness, as he puts it, to respond to the letters of a close friend.

"I screwed up [that] relationship," he said.

Feeling terrible about this broken relationship, a year later he vowed he would, for the rest of his life, write letters in order to maintain relationships. At the same time, he vowed he would "never buy ugly stationary." 

As his envelopes began to veer away from functionality, becoming more complex involving moving parts, Gordon decided to transition into creating large-scale pieces. To this day, he still communicates with friends all over the country and the world with letters contained in his own handmade envelopes.

One of Gordon's pieces displayed at CinemaSalem entitled, "And…Action," speaks to his playful philosophy of art and what he believes should be its role in our lives. The piece includes gymnasts flying through the air, a snake wrestling a deer, giant cartoon insects and Mr. Peanut all being "filmed" by a cameraman cut-out in the foreground.

When speaking about this piece, Gordon said: "Could you imagine in some world, someone says 'and…action' and this happens? I would like to imagine that. Good art to me isn't the art itself. It's the continued composition that evolves in your mind or any thought that you have about it because art should be generating more art...So you see this, but, if you imagine what's going to happen next, that's a good piece of art," Gordon said.

Brian Gordon is not the only artist on display at CinemaSalem. Gordon teamed up with his friend Brian Donnelly to create the December CinemaSalem art show entitled, "Life of Brians." Both Gordon and Donnelly are admirers of each other's work and personalities.

"Between the two of us, I thought we could get a good number of freaks [to come to the show]. And by freaks, I mean, sensitive types," Gordon said.

The opening reception and Bad Sweater Party for "Life of Brians" is Thursday Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. Wearing your worst sweater, you can enjoy free food and drinks at this event and check out over 30 different pieces of original art.

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