Don’t Trash It! Part 2

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A Gallery of Art from the Reclaimed

This month’s theme, Don’t Trash It! explores art that mines the reclaimed and the discarded, and turns that trash into art treasures.

PET Cactus Collection by Veronika Richterova. Photo by
Michal Cihlář. This lovely little garden creates beauty out of waste. There really is no reason any plastic bottle should wind up in the ocean when it could become something like this instead…
Detail of Color Collage piece, reclaimed tin, by Nan Wonderly. For Wonderly, working with materials near the end of their intended lifecycle was a conscious statement about environmental destruction and the human role in it. To me, her color-blocked abstracts offer a positive reminder to look at things in a different way.
Banff, recycled mixed media, by Magical Zoo. Magical Zoo’s post-consumer, up-cycled creatures embody zero-waste as a call for environmental conservation, and animal protection. These creatures remind us of the wonder in nature, the majesty of word’s species, of which humans are but one.
The Falter, mixed media on canvas, 30″x40″. Artist Brittany M Noriega
literally paints with trash to create luminous textures.
Fertility, medical detritus, glass, cement by Kalindi Kunis. Pulling from collected non-recyclable waste, Kunis merged the botanical inspirations from her 2D work with the hard “facts” of human activity – waste with nowhere else to go.
Fading Cloth,liquor bottle tops & copper wire, by El Anatsui. I was lucky to see this shimmering sheet of golden yellows, reds and metallics while at the St. Louis Art Museum earlier this year. Ghanaian artist El Anatsui sews a “cloth of gold” from flattened, discarded liquor bottle tops and copper wire. Beyond the alchemy of turning trash into “gold”, Fading Cloth weaves in socio-political meaning; as Europeans historically had traded textiles and liquor for gold and slaves in West Africa. My sister graciously served as a model to illustrate the grand scale of this glowing work.
Joshua Tree, acrylic on found trash, by Mariah Reading. The artist sees the consequences of our consumption on the ground, literally. After traditional sculpture and painting, she turned to trash as the base for her landscape paintings as a conscious move to reduce waste associated with making art and with the hope of “snapping us out of our complacency.” Brava!
Colt 45, found aluminum cans, rocks by Vancouver B.C, artist Robi Smith. Smith’s work is deeply rooted in the NW coastal ecosystem. Her playful recycled beer can fish belies the reality of the impacts of human activities, including pollution and waste, on local forests, beaches, rivers, and ocean life.
Christy Rupp‘s “The Threatened Swan” is modeled after historic art by Jan Asselijn, ca 1650 (image below), recreated here with discarded plastic net bags, steel, plastic, fish line, and paint. 24”x41”x15”
Pipette Necklace, medical waste, by Sheena Mathieson. Mathieson celebrates the “art of the found” in this art for you neck… Truly the resources available to artists to mine for art making is astounding. This statement necklace makes more than one statement!
Scenic World Installation, plastic bottles, Jane V Gillings. Gillings’ work highlights the impacts, and extent, of our man-made materials. Is it a ray of light or a plastic crashing “wave”?
Little Green, geo-metric wall sculpture made with plastic drinking straws and nylon string, 1999. Artist Tony Feher was an American sculptor known for working with low cost and found objects. I spied this pieced at the James Harris Gallery in 2018; now it’s in the Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. 25 ¼ × 25 ½ × ¼ in (64.1 × 64.8 × .6 cm)

Author: Teresa Stern

Teresa Stern is an artist and sustainability strategist. She launched The Art of Sustainability to combine her experience in the green building industry with her passion for art and belief that artists offer a view of the possible.

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