This exhibition is an exploration and expression of Max Collin’s loving relationship with paper and its source material: the tree. As a wheat-paste artist for over a decade, Max Collins handled tens of thousands of feet of paper, which in turn has created a deep appreciation for the maker of the material. “I have a love of trees for the value they bring to our lives in a myriad of ways. Trees clean our air, offer shade, mark the seasons, communicate with each other and other living beings. They are givers and teachers. They line our streets and connect us to the natural world amongst an urban landscape. When they are cut down, they are turned into lumber that’s used to frame our homes and craft the tables we sit down at for dinner every night. All living things turn into other things, in time, trees especially so” (Max Collins). This show is a gesture of gratitude and appreciation for the tree and all its forms.
The sculptural pieces in this show are a commemorative act of honoring the pieces of lumber for the purpose they once served. Shrouded in an assemblage of paper remains collected in his day to day life, these works directly reference the tradition of washing and shrouding a body before its burial as a final act of reverence for its life. Paper cut offs from prints, recycled paperwork, receipts, and take out bags were used to swath and wrap these sculptures. The process of making these works was a reciprocal practice that was informed by Max’s memories and experiences of washing and shrouding rituals that he oversaw as a funeral director at Finley Sunset Hills in Portland, Oregon.
The photographic works on found plywood add imagery to the experience. Two of the pictures memorialize the stately elm trees that once canopied our city streets alongside the devastating removal of the trees due to the ravaging Dutch elm disease outbreak in the 1960’s. These works commemorate the time in Buffalo’s history where trees were a world-class attribute of the city. To honor this past asks questions of what we can do to develop a culture moving forward that that celebrates the impact trees have on the quality of life in a city.
About Max Collins
Max Collins is a wheat-paste artist. Max received his BFA from the University of Michigan and an MFA from the University of Buffalo. He has taught artmaking workshops for art students and the public in Portland OR, Lincoln NE, Jackson MI, and Buffalo NY to mention few. Institutions such as the Albright Knox Art Gallery, NYC Central Park, SUNY Fredonia – Rockefeller Center for the Arts and the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library had commissioned public memorial murals projects or personalized art exhibitions. His work has been exhibited in the Castellani Art Museum, Main Street Studios and WNY Books Art Center. His work is in the permanent collection at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Max Collins has recently moved back to his hometown of Buffalo from Portland, Oregon, where he worked as a licensed funeral director.