Shadowboxes and Arrangements
Collage and montage are common elements in Powers’ works. A number of his book covers featured elements with ragged edges. In many cases these were produced by tearing pieces of paper (sometimes paintings in their own right) and attaching them to the painting. These could be used to depict landscape features, shadowy figures, or simply abstract elements.
He also produced more formal arrangements, combining one or more individual paintings with torn paper, small sculptural elements, pebbles, shells, and other found objects. He would often mount paintings on 1/2″ thick foam board and attach that to a larger background giving a sense of depth.
Perhaps the most interesting and least-known of these arrangements are his shadowboxes which combine paintings and sculptural elements. We are privileged to have a number of these as part of the “Seen and Unseen” exhibition. Many are approximately 30″x40″ and about 4-6 inches deep.
Shadowbox with four small paintings and sculptural elements
Shadowbox with small painting floated over background painting and including sculptural elements
Throughout his life Powers was known for painting on whatever happened to be at hand. In his later years he took to painting on sections of hollow-core interior doors. These were cheap, readily available, and came in convenient widths from 28 to 36 inches. With proper edge trimming, these pieces had depth and presence while remaining relatively lightweight. Many of these works were done in his “surreal landscape” style with torn paper collage elements and stark, angular black and white lines.