Gary Wortzel
EVENT: Wortzel's torn-paper collages are in the group show at Nico Gallery (619 Western Ave, Second Floor, 264-1710). Through Sept 2.

Do you work only in collage? "I started out as a painter and I was really influenced by the Ab-Ex painters in New York. I lived in Provincetown and was able to work with people in their 60s and 70s. Robert Motherwell was there and he did this thing one time where he took a phone book and put an ink blotch on each page--I think it was him. Anyway, it was the expressive sensibility I liked. Another major influence was Rauchenberg. He's more directly how I got the idea for the style. He didn't actually make collages the way I do, but there were experiments. And his is way more conceptual; mine is more graphic-art-based, more illustrative.

So you've combined two older styles--conceptual and expressive--with a more contemporary graphic perspective. "And I'm excited about that. Conceptual and expressive are two distinct genres that usually don't mix well."

I get a certain sense of violence from these works. "You do?"

Well, from the torn edges of the paper, maybe. The interruptedness, the images degraded by other images. "What comes through those pieces is a lot of expression in general, and unfortunately one is violence. I don't think about it when I do it, but you may be right, I don't know."

Is there a connection between your source images and the final images? Do you only use vintage magazines and newspapers? "Sometimes I use both, but the works at Nico are almost all vintage, largely because of the color and the accessibility. It started back when I was involved a bit in antique-selling and got these old magazines. I don't pay almost a single cent for any of my art work, that's part of my deal. When I was a younger artist and painting, I had to buy all that paint, all those tubes of paint. But I have thought recently about returning to traditional materials."