Butterfly Machine, 1942
Collage with watercolor and ink on green paper, 15 x 20 ¾
Bequest of Kay Sage KSCX68.6
One of the most prominent women associated with Surrealism in the United States, Kay Sage had a distinctive style. She utilized landscape imagery as a metaphor for the mind and psychological states of being. Motifs that appear often in the later stages of her career, include architectural scaffolding, latticework structures, and draped figures, usually combined to evoke feelings of entrapment and dislocation.
Sage created a number of collages assembled of abstracted shapes cut from magazines, drawings and watercolors including Butterfly Machine, Arithmetic of the Wind, and Grass of Parnassus (all Mattatuck Museum). These precisely delineated pasted-and-painted forms set in shallow, undifferentiated space look scientific and surgical despite their lack of true utility.