Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cultural Residue

graduate review

Today's post gets its title from a term my professor used during my thesis review.  He said that my work contains the cultural residue of our society and the objects I use are like artifacts.  I like that phrase.  I want to use it in my artist statement.  The review went well.  I got a lot of good ideas for my artist statement.  I think I can write something good now.  Well, better, anyway.  So I am going to write all these ideas down in this post before I forget them.

I realized that I like the forms of the found objects I use and that formal concern is my main reason for choosing recycled materials.  The act of recycling itself is secondary to that.  But I am concerned with the transformation of waste into something beautiful.  Movement and the expressionistic use of color matter to me.  My work is about pattern and the interweaving of shapes.  And because most of my pieces are in relief, light and shadow are important.  The story of consumerism is important but may not necessarily be the main thing.  It is not about a social issue, but about design.  And that makes sense, considering my design background.  (Which I hardly ever get to use.)

graduate review

Some of my work uses materials more literally while in others the raw materials are transformed.  Adaptive Reuse and Adaptive Reuse 2 might be part of a series within a series, or a series all their own because the fact that waste materials are used in both of them is so obvious.

Adaptive Reuse 2

Adaptive Reuse 2 (*note: more objects have been added since this photo was taken)

So, where do I go from here? Well, I have a lot of work to do. I need to:

-read more Bauhaus and Hoffman
-address the reason for emphasizing found materials vs. disguising them
-consider why I use the particular colors I have chosen in my work
-manipulate the viewer around my images
-consider the edges
-add more colors to many of them so they are not too monochromatic
-seal each piece on the back
-paint the sides of each piece
-get 1 x 2's to build frames

Yes, I have a lot of work to do.


  1. I sometimes think about the amount of refuse generated by just one person. When I have a mountain of packaging material from items purchased for maintaining life - food, grooming products, cleaning supplies - I just stop and try to think about where it all goes... Multiply that by "everyone" and it is a lot of material... I'm glad you are using some of it for good purpose.

  2. Thanks, Jeff. I am always amazed at how useful a lot of the odds and ends I normally would throw away have turned out to be when I put them into my artwork.


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