The exhibition, Birdie Lusch: Collages consists of 24 collages from the artist's ongoing series exploring the myriad forms of flowers in vases. These exquisite collages were executed from leftover oddments including recycled envelopes, postage stamps and magazine cuttings, revealing Lusch's extraordinary touch, composition and sense of color.
This is the work of an inspired bricoleuse who takes whatever materials happen to be available on hand, re-purposing them into new, surprising concoctions wherein shirts, tulips and tires are re-fashioned into vases while noodles and carpeting are similarly transformed with delightful surprise into flowers. A relentless spirit of playful experimentation and a keen sense of humor characterizes all of these works, which also include miniature images of paintings re-fashioned out of postage stamps, snapshots, and a Purina checkerboard logo.
Born in 1903, Birdie Lusch was a self-taught artist from Columbus, Ohio. Although she labored most of her adult life at the Timken ball bearing factory, Lusch began making artwork to amuse herself as a teenager-- to make the world into her own as she used to say--never stopping until her death in 1988. She frequently made books and personal albums filled with uncommonly sophisticated collages for an artist completely removed from the art world.
It is Birdie's conceptual lyricism that links her to the most revolutionary of Modern artists--Duchamp, Schwitters, Cornell and Rauschenberg--artists whose works and ideas were completely unknown to her. Lusch's preoccupation with bricolage and homecrafts is also strikingly contemporary, however, relating to the aesthetics of a younger generation of artists working today.
Emblematic of Lusch's poetic identity was the artist's practice of always signing her pictures not with her name, but rather, with the outline of a bird.