Collage is the most modern expression of art. Combining static images to create a kind of kinetic image, albeit a technically motionless image, that achieves motion through the strategic placement of the individual components, creating tension. Look at the work of Romare Beardon, 20th century collage artist. His piece Train Whistle Blues from 1964 is so full of motion that it practically jumps off the page. How does he do it? Beardon uses the contrast of proportions to make his collage move by aligning the segments to create a kind of visual tension between the elements. Your eye is drawn through the page following the motion, attempting to make sense of it all.
This second collage is Train Whistle Blues II, also from 1964. Again, Bearden creates such surprising juxtapositions by varying the scale of his elements. He also incorporates paint or chalk or even pencil markings right on the surface of the collages, enhancing the effects. His collages are very cubist in style, the elements of time and space are exposed from many facets, yet all contained within a single frame. And that is what makes collage so essentially modern, that rush of layered information coming at you, bombarding you non-stop. Bearden also uses photography and photo copying to repeat and exaggerate the images.
One last collage, Pittsburgh Memo, another from 1964, the year of his best work. Here you can really see how Bearden manipulates scale, breaking down the all the elements of facial features and reassembling them into something completely unexpected, yet still familiar enough that we’re able to see ourselves in these images.