As the demand for jigsaw puzzles continues to surge during the pandemic, it’s nothing new to Al Souza.
The artist takes them to whole new level as he takes sections of completed puzzles and reconfigures them with others sometimes four or five layers thick.
Now on exhibition through October 18 at the Tyler Museum of Art, “Bits and Pieces: Works by Al Souza” features a variety of mixed media collages and assemblages from 2000 – 2010.
The works, including his jigsaw puzzle assemblages, showcase his ability to masterfully combine various parts to create a dynamic whole.
Al Souza’s cut paper and assemblage works reconfigure familiar items into abstract or surreal compositions that often convey a Pop sensibility.
In his early work Souza created what he called “photoworks,” small dioramas composed of photographs and related items mounted in wooden boxes; these pieces explored issues of perception and authenticity, and questioned the camera’s capacity to represent reality. More recently, Souza has produced what he calls “paintings,” dizzying, vibrant compositions in which he assembles and glues together thousands of related and unrelated parts of jigsaw puzzles salvaged from thrift stores and garage sales.
Common subjects include brightly colored plants and organic matter, buildings, and painting supplies.
The museum has a variety of other Souza works including a fun collection of spitballs.