Jerry Jeanmard Creates Collages From Society's Paper Debris

Jerry Jeanmard has an eye.

The longtime Houston resident has worked as an interior designer for nearly 30 years for the firm Wells Design/Jerry Jeanmard. He's also made his name as an illustrator; his claim to fame is one of his earliest jobs -- the Blue Bell Ice Cream logo (you know the one -- the silhouette of a little girl leading a cow for milking).

For the past five years, Jeanmard has turned his eye to a less public endeavor -- creating collages out of envelopes, bills and other scraps of paper. These pieces usually didn't see the light of day, going into storage upon completion or being sold to select clients. But lucky for us, the artist has his first solo show in an exhibition of 17 collages currently up at Moody Gallery.

The collages were born out of Jeanmard's fascination with paper, and he's not discriminating. What would normally be seen as pieces of garbage to most are treasured items to Jeanmard. Once combined, the resulting conglomerations are clean and sharp, even where the paper is uneven, torn or creased. There's a nice continuity to the show, too -- all of the works are done on the same size of paper, and all of the collages are enveloped by a significant amount of white space, which helps the somewhat muted colors stand out.

It's tempting to try to draw some sort of meaning out of the items used in the collages, from text to recognizable forms such as stamps and maps. But, as the phrase goes, they are what they are. In fact, none of the pieces on display are even titled. ("Broken Hearted," the lone titled work, sold and has since been replaced by an untitled piece.) If anything, these pieces are mostly about the appreciation of the paper. There can be beauty (or, more so the case here, a strong pleasantness) even in the most unlikely places, a lesson which can always bear repeating.

"Jerry Jeanmard: Collages" at Moody Gallery, 2815 Colquitt Street, runs now through January 5. For more information, call 713-526-9911 or visit www.moodygallery.com.

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