Artist Statement

Art has always been my first language in the world and collage allows me the ability to communicate exactly the way I wish. It is the language of rupture and I find it an inherently poetic medium. I use a combination of hand-cut paper, acrylic, ink and oil to achieve a kaleidoscopic framing of the American landscape that is set in the past, present and future.

The heartbreakingly beautiful mess of cultures, spiritualities, shared histories and epic landscapes this world over are why I make work. I’m moved by the ways our beloved planet has been worshipped and defiled and the ability for it to come back again and again with its Eastern cathedrals of forest and panoramic horizons of the West. Living in a cut and paste culture, my work is an investigation of America’s brutal settler-colonial history. I am weary of technology and am specifically drawn to the act of wandering the American West, where time is on the loose and I am is reminded of my European ancestors’ seemingly endless penchant for violence and obsessions of discovery. My work has a specific lens on the First Nations people of North America but I follow a trail of broken promises the world over. The bullied and persecuted come too and I find pain and beauty in this quilt of many colors.

– Vanessa Compton