Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Carl Shull


The purpose of this thesis is to analyze influences exerted on the collage of Ken Brewer by Kurt Schwitters, Robert Rauschenberg, and Alberto Burri, to explain the evolution of Brewer's work, and to serve as a source of ideas for others attempting to work in collage.

In the first three sections of the thesis brief overviews of the work of Schwitters, Rauschenberg, and Burri are presented. Schwitters, a member of the dada school of art, was a pioneer in the use of collage as an art form. He, like other dada artists, rejected the social and artistic values of post World War I Europe in favor of new interpretations of what art should be and what materials and techniques could be used in art. Contemporary American artist Robert Rauschenberg has drawn inspiration and ideas from Schwitters, and in turn expanded the meaning and acceptance of collage in modern art. He is best known for the painting, collage, sculpture combinations he calls "combines", but has also used collage in silkscreen, lithography, and transfer drawing. Rauschenberg is interested in the possibilities of utilizing modern technology in the arts and has created a series of work in collaboration with leading engineers. Burri's most notable series of collages are his sacchi, large paintings made by sewing together and painting on pieces of discarded sacks and various coarse fabrics. He has also created collage in wood, plastic, and metal.

In subsequent sections of the thesis Brewer's work is described, analyzed, and compared to that of the other three artists in the areas of technique, materials, color, composition, and symbolism. The section on techniques and materials contains an explanation of the use of approximately thirty collage techniques.

Brewer's work is divided into three categories; transfer paintings which were influenced to a great extent by Rauschenberg, collages which were primarily influenced by Schwitters and Burri, and a group of paintings that bear the influence of all three but have a character of their own. This series of paintings is the result of knowledge gained through studying the work of Rauschenberg, Schwitters, and Burri plus discoveries he made while assembling his collages.

Twelve color plates follow the text and present examples of Brewer's collage plus one example each of works by Rauschenberg, Schwitters, and Burri.

Included in

Painting Commons