The art of assemblage

Eva Havelik

Eva Havelik says that collage allows her to use colors not possible with paint. Here she is with some of her colorful collages at ClayNichols.

Eva Havelik says that collage allows her to use colors not possible with paint. Here she is with some of her colorful collages at ClayNichols.

Photo By David Robert

Collage is a new medium for the Czech-born Eva Havelik, who immigrated to the United States during the Cold War and settled in Reno, where she pursued her art studies at UNR.

Havelik has worked in a variety of media and is best known for her watercolors, which are primarily focused on the rocks in Lake Tahoe, a place, she says, that inspires much awe in her.

Havelik came to collage about a year ago when she found a box of magazine cuttings and old papers in a closet. She says that she enjoys the freedom the medium gives her to work and rework her creations and incorporate more boldness.

“Watercolor is unforgiving,” she says. “And it’s hard to get bold colors.”

If there’s one adjective that aptly fits these new works, it’s “bold.” Large swatches of bright color form both abstract and recognizable images. Birds and flowers abound. Havelik is continually inspired by nature.

Much of the paper Havelik uses is textured, giving the work subtle dimension. There is also a well-placed, and not overwhelming, use of both patterns and solids. Throughout, Havelik shows a solid grasp on composition. The works are balanced in both color and form making them simply pleasing to look at. They also share an air of levity; the work would fit just as well in a child’s nursery as in a living area. They show well in the gallery/store space where some artwork can get lost among the various items for sale.

This is not difficult work to like—it is more lovely than challenging. However, it’s complex enough to keep the eye moving and interested, without becoming over-stimulated.

As to style, the work has a definite childlike quality to it, joyful and playful with an Outsider Art rawness and immediacy. The paper is often torn, and the identifiable objects are more symbolic than realistic. Indeed, Havelik seems to have found a new, wonderful stride in this medium. She appears to be enjoying herself nicely, which shines through in her work.

“Collage is like potato chips to me,” she says. “Once I get started, I can’t stop. I work late into the night, and it’s the first thing I do in the morning. I arrange the pieces of paper until I have something I like.”

“I See Purple,” in which four flower-like images with brown and yellow centers sit in a vase is exemplary of the work as a whole. The colors of the flowers and the vase, are echoed at right with circles and strips. “Butterfly” and “Jewels” also stand out for their compositional harmony. And “Two Ravens” is a wondrous work dominated by two black birds with black-and-white striped legs—one at upper left and the other at lower right—a centrally placed large red flower with black-and-white polka-dotted center, and a house-like object off to the lower left.

Havelik has been a longtime contributor to the Reno art scene. She’s a member of the artist support group Connections, and her work has been featured at the Reno/Tahoe Airport, Heritage Bank, River Gallery and Silver State Gallery. This is the first gallery showing of her collages.