A new Richmond art exhibit is highlighting how unrelated pieces of art can create new meaning and human connections when pulled together in new art pieces.
Victoria-based artist Sonja Ahlers is presenting three decades of collage artwork in her exhibit titled “Classification Crisis,” on display at the Richmond Art Gallery from Sept. 9 to Nov. 5.
The exhibit, along with an illustrated publication of the same name, emphasizes community building through Ahler’s zines, poetry, installations as well as excerpts from her personal collage archive, presented in a “flip-through gallery” of art binders.
Ahler’s collages are made of bits and bobs found in free libraries, thrift stores and even books that are falling apart.
The term “classification crisis,” explained Ahlers, is an archival term that archivists use when they don’t know what to do or how to sort items.
“That’s how my work has been viewed for most of my career, we don’t really know what to do with certain pieces of art or items and I will just experiment with it,” she said.
Ahlers told the Richmond News she gravitated towards collage because she loved “bringing disparate pieces together” to create something new.
“I’m always trying to kind of reinvent the wheel and that’s part of my process,” said Ahlers.
Her collages give new meaning and purpose to art “without a place,” she added.
Ahlers hope visitors discover their own different interpretations of each art piece at the exhibit.
“Putting my art out to the public is my way to make a connection with people and inspire others to do their own work.”