Collage Artist Lorelle Rau Debuts her First Boise Solo Exhibition 

click to enlarge Land Alive will include 55 of Rau's 5-by-5 inch collage "minis."

Lorelle Rau

Land Alive will include 55 of Rau's 5-by-5 inch collage "minis."

On a given night or weekend, there's a good chance you'll find Lorelle Rau at a thrift store or antique shop taking the first step toward making an art piece—it's an adventure she calls "foraging for paper."

"I'll use wallpaper, old wrapping paper, books, photographs that I take—just a variety of things. I have a pretty big collection at this point. I have a giant flat file that has eight drawers where I keep all my large sheets of paper," Rau said.

Those sheets, along with some she buys, eventually become Rau's landscape and nature-inspired collages, and she will showcase more than 70 of them at her first Boise solo exhibition, Land Alive, which kicks off on First Thursday, March 7, and runs through Friday, March 29, at Evermore Prints.

click to enlarge EVERMOREPRINTS.COM
The colorful, textured collages depict the foothills and mountains surrounding the City of Trees, which Rau credited with pulling her west from Richmond, Virginia, three years ago.

"The grand scale of the mountains really impressed me," she said, noting that she grew up in the urban landscape of Florida. Now, she spends as much time as possible in those mountains hiking, skiing and whitewater rafting.

Rau's work is usually abstracted, but it has its roots in real landscapes. She starts by looking at photographs she has taken of the mountains, then uses an X-Acto knife to cut various papers into similar overlapping shapes. Then, she layers the paper over wooden boards to form mountainscapes and uses a gel medium to hold them down. A layer of varnish protects the finished pieces without obscuring the papers' textures. 

Rau has been working in collage since 2011, when a small studio forced her to get creative.

"I was living in a tiny apartment in D.C. and I didn't have much of a studio space, but I had all of my old prints and drawings from college and I just started cutting those up one day and re-configuring them in different ways. I really liked the tactile quality and just the work as it was coming to life," she said.

Land Alive will feature a total of 73 collages, including 55 5-by-5-inch "minis" and 18 larger works ranging in size from 12-by-12 inches to 24-by-60 inches. For her next project, Rau said she plans to look into making her own paper using foliage and fibers foraged from the foothills—a step that would make her work not only of, but from, the land she loves. 
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