Oddments

Throughout the history of art, artists have looked to everyday materials of all varieties to make their visions a reality. Whether the choice was driven by necessity or a desire to experiment with the unexpected, the resulting works have pushed the boundaries of what is considered art.

In Pablo Picasso's Still Life with Chair Caning, the artist encircled his dynamic composition with actual rope, providing not only a kind of frame for the work but also an important textural element. Robert Rauschenberg also elevated the everyday with his work Bed when he eliminated a formal canvas and covered his actual pillowcases and bedsheets in thick smatterings of oil paint and pencil.

And contemporary artists continue to incorporate found materials into their work. Some go as far as including debris from their studios, inextricably linking a work with its site of creation. But whatever form these unconventional components may take, their selection is a highly personal one that offers unique insight into an artist's process and experience.