March 22nd, 2015

Postage stamp portraits – amazing works of art

By Ross Kay and David Dowsett David Bowie, Barack Obama, Ghandi and Marge Simpson line the walls in the "Nothing New?" exhibition, and their eyes seem to follow you around the room. It is only when you get up close you can see the smaller details, stamped right across their faces. got to know about unusual exhibition showing works of art made of tiny postage stamps. Bundaberg artist Marlies Oakley spent the last 18 months working on the 22-piece exhibition.

In preparation for the latest exhibition at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, artist Marlies Oakley has been working her way through thousands of postage stamps and hundreds of hours of television programs.

"It was very therapeutic. You just sit there, you're listening to DVDs or music and you just go into your own world while you're cutting up stamps," she said.

"Because I'm using old postage stamps, I cut them and glue them, so this is nothing new, because they have been used before. The images I'm using have been around for a while as well ‒ everybody knows them, so they're not new".

"But the way I'm putting the stamps together to create these portrait images, hopefully creates something new."
The portrait of Captain Cook is made up of images of Australian flags, the image of Queen Elisabeth II is formed by hundreds of horses, and Marge Simpson is constructed of yellow flowers.

"I think it just became an obsession in the end, I just couldn't stop," Marlies said.

"Before I even start with the stamps I do a painting of the portrait I want to fill up with stamps. Then I go through my boxes, and boxes, and boxes of stamps and find images which suit the portrait.

In Ned Kelly I've got lots of sheep shearers, I've got lots of Australian animals all over it, and I've got bits of Sidney Nolan's paintings in there ‒ something which relates to the portrait.

Then I sit there cutting and gluing them all together and in one of those images there are up to 4,000 stamps."
The exhibition runs at BRAG until May 3.

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