There’s a transformative power in collaging with paper that always excites and amazes me. As I work on each collage I find a deep connection to the subject, whether it is a landscape, an animal or a person, a love develops. In this work I explore the ethereal, yet eternal nature of life which lives in the sacredness and beauty of the moment.
The paper creates a world where we are all made of the same material—the mountains, ocean, people, animals, rock, sky—all made of the same material, the same molecules. It manifests the connection that exists, making the inter-connection of all life visible even while engaging in the vast mystery.
Each collage is built up on the canvas using many individual pieces of paper that I cut or tear by hand. I use many types of paper including plain brown paper, newspaper, tissue paper, origami paper, and handmade Japanese, Nepalese and Korean papers. A matte medium is brushed on to each layer, making the paper adhere to the canvas and sealing it.
This type of collage offered up a medium to me that was a convergence of every other medium I had worked in. Finding it was a revelation and a wonder and a gift.
Milly Charles was born in New York City. She lived, studied art, and performed dance and theater in New York, Woodstock, Paris and Los Angeles. She attended Circle in the Square Theater School in New York, Carolyn Carlson’s School of Modern Dance at The Paris Opera and drawing and painting with Nick Buhalis in Woodstock, at the Art Student’s League of New York and at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. Milly has acted, danced and choreographed in theaters on both coasts including at the Williamstown Theater Festival, Joseph Campbell and Jean Erdman’s Theater of The Open Eye in NYC and Berkeley Repertory Theater in California. She is currently working with the medium of collage—tearing and cutting paper and using a matte medium to apply and layer the paper on stretched canvas. She recently finished a series of 12 collages on canvas inspired by the Ashokan Reservoir, exploring the quiet, cold and austere beauty of winter. Milly is currently working on a climate action art series, collages based on people, animals and places in the world most immediately vulnerable to climate change.