Lisa McCarty: “New Visual Metaphors”

We invited artists from Duke’s MFA EDA community to share work they have made in response to the coronavirus crisis. See the full “Home & Away” collection here.

Lisa McCarty: “New Visual Metaphors”

Artist’s Reflection

Collage has become a vital form of making for me right now. Fragmentation, superimposition, and montage are the languages I have chosen to explore in order to conceive new visual metaphors that address our post-pandemic reality.

Since I began self-isolating on March 14, 2020, I’ve scoured digitized archives for images that resonate with what I am currently seeing and experiencing. Simultaneously, I mine my own photo archive and revisit instances from my own personal history. These images then become the source material for surreal mash-ups.

In these compositions, silos of photographic information collapse as images from advertisements, academic texts, museum collections, scientific studies, and my own life are spliced together. The past and present are altered and combined as I imagine what the future may hold.

The collage above, Flight of the Mind, reflects the general discontinuity I’ve been experiencing and a simultaneous willingness to try to make something beautiful in spite of it.


Lisa McCarty is an artist and curator based in Dallas, Texas, USA where she is Assistant Professor of Photography at Southern Methodist University. Her books include Transcendental Concord (Radius Books) and William Gedney: Only the Lonely (University of Texas Press).