Robert Rauchenberg liked to use the "surprise" of found objects and incorporate them into his work. He described them as "combines," objects that he integrated into his painted pieces.
I like his description. I've been collecting objects such as vintage doors, antique cameras, unusual frames, old lace, ancient mannequins and things that contain their own patina and wear and age. The used life of these objects gives them a "soul" of their own.
Using objects that have weathered the decades adds another dimension to my work. We humans begin to resemble antiques as we grow older, gathering our own patina. I love the abused mannequin that I found at a flea market in Chicago. I used a reproduction post office door to include a painting in the mannequin's chest (her heart chakra).
The painting of the wonderful botanical artist and explorer Margaret Mee incorporates a battered green door. It provides a window on the world that Mee inhabited, the Amazon rainforest.
I used an antique frame to "house" my painting of Mary Kingsley, who devoted much of her life to caring for her parents and, after their death, sailed for Africa and spent 11 months exploring the Congo and Gabon. Despite the hardships of trekking through the jungle, Kingsley continued to wear her Victorian clothes. She returned to England and wrote about her incredible adventures in "Travels in West Africa."