Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Student Spotlight: Erin Case


Turn Shelter

Art student Erin Case has gained international recognition for her paper collages, exhibiting from Canada to Rome. She has been featured in magazines from Brazil and the United Kingdom, as well as in the United States.

Erin’s collages typically contain a figure within a landscape, disproportionally placed among a classical interpretation of space. Larger than life, the figures tower over mountains or cityscapes at a point of personal turmoil or reflection.

According to Erin, her collages are a commentary on the human condition. Although she has an idea what the image is about while she is creating it, Erin prefers to leave interpretation up to the viewer. Her titles are usually a play on words, giving a hint at interpretation on a basic level, but leaving deeper meaning instilled in the viewer. Erin commented on her subject matter saying: “I like to think that if an emotional cord is struck in the viewer, whether or not it is the same emotion I felt when creating it, that it’s done its job.”

Her piece Pillarist depicts a proportionally large figure clinging to a rock in water, while smaller figures work below. The large figures identity is hidden by a red barn over its head, which can be interpreted by the definition of pillarist, a person who chooses to live outside of society. However, the figure seems to be struggling to cling to the rock, isolating itself from help.

Erin makes her collages using appropriated, or borrowed, imagery from a large personal collection of magazines, or from digital versions of similar images. She typically makes the collages by hand, cutting and pasting the pieces.

Using this method, Erin creates an interesting and ambiguous space within her work. In her paper and ink collage, Turn Shelter, the forms of women wrapped in burqa like clothing can be paralleled to hills in a landscape, overlapping in a logical sense behind a more compositionally dominant male figure in the foreground.

The grayscale male figure has had his identity removed, and within the space of his face is instead an image of an actual landscape, including a figure emerging from a tent. This combination of spatial elements and scale change of figures creates an uncertainty of the position of the viewer in relation to the work.

Erin is currently an undergraduate earning credit from both Saginaw Valley State University and Delta College. She plans to graduate from Saginaw Valley State University with a Bachelors degree in Art, and attend SVSU’s teacher certification program. To see more of Erin's work, visit

Amy Gibas
Gallery Assistant
University Art Gallery
Saginaw Valley State University

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