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Art

New Historical Portraits on Flattened Cans by Kim Alsbrooks

May 20, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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Kim Alsbrooks (previously) began painting historical portraits on crushed cans in 2004 while living in the South. The series “My White Trash Family” was born out of the frustration of prevailing ideologies of class distinction, ideas she decided to challenge by placing portraits of the past onto everyman’s consumerist leftovers. These paintings are typically depicted straight from 17th to 18th centuries, and tend to match the material environment they are placed upon (either through color choice, content, or both).

For each painting a gesso layer is applied first, followed by a drawn image in graphite, and finally oil paint and varnish. Alsbrooks only uses detritus she finds on the streets, faithfully sticking to cans that have already been trampled and crushed flat. Difficulty comes in finding the perfect cans, as they must be free of wrinkles that would impede upon on the paintings she places within the center of each surface.

Alsbrooks estimates that she has painted more than 700 of these portraits over the last 11 years, and the series will culminate with an exhibition at the Racine Art Museum in September of this year alongside jewelry maker Nikki Coupee. Alsbrooks often elaborates on the background of the portraits she paints, descriptions behind the portraits’ selection can be found on her blog here.

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Art Photography

Washed Up: Alejandro Duran’s Site-Specific Found Plastic and Trash Installations

April 18, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Working along a single stretch of coastline in Sian Ka’an, Mexico’s largest federally-protected reserve, artist Alejandro Duran collects countless bits of trash that washes up from locations around the world. So far he’s discovered plastic debris from dozens of countries on this shore of the Caribbean coast which he utilizes for site site-specific installations for an ongoing project titled Washed Up. By creating aesthetically pleasing landscapes from a disheartening medium, it’s Duran’s hope to create a harsh juxtaposition that draws attention to the global catastrophe of ocean pollution. He shares in a statement about Washed Up:

Over the course of this project, I have identified plastic waste from fifty nations on six continents that have washed ashore along the coast of Sian Ka’an. I have used this international debris to create color-based, site-specific sculptures. Conflating the hand of man and nature, at times I distribute the objects the way the waves would; at other times, the plastic takes on the shape of algae, roots, rivers, or fruit, reflecting the infiltration of plastics into the natural environment.

More than creating a surreal or fantastical landscape, these installations mirror the reality of our current environmental predicament. The resulting photo series depicts a new form of colonization by consumerism, where even undeveloped land is not safe from the far-reaching impact of our disposable culture.

Duran just received the Juror’s Award from CENTER for his efforts, and has upcoming exhibitions at Habana Outpost in Brooklyn and at the XO KI’IN Retreat Center. (via This Isn’t Happiness, LENSCRATCH)

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Art

Trash and Found Objects Transformed into Birds by ‘Bordalo II’

November 25, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Lisbon-based street artist Bordallo II (previously) recently completed work on two new bird installations, an owl and heron, created from painted trash and other objects affixed to a wall. You can see additional new works by following on Facebook.

 

 



Art

The First Law of Kipple: An Entire Floor Filled With Chromatically Arranged Junk by Dan Tobin Smith

September 24, 2014

Johnny Waldman

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About 3 months ago photographer Dan Tobin Smith set up a website to ask the public to donate kipple: junk that was lying around their house. “It’s time to free yourself of the pointless or unused objects in your life,” read the plea. “Give them a purpose as part of Dan Tobin Smith’s installation for the London Design Festival 2014.”

Sure enough, the donations began coming in and in no time at all Smith had enough junk on his hands to create a sprawling installation that filled an entire floor and mezzanine, “carpeting 200-square-metres with a dense, precise, chromatically-themed arrangement of thousands of objects.” The objects are so carefully placed that gradients seem to blend together seamlessly.

The fictional word Kipple was coined by science fiction writer Philip K Dick. Kipple appears in his 1968 novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” (the film adaptation was Blade Runner) and is used to describe useless, pointless stuff that humans accumulate. It served as the inspiration for Smith’s installation “The First Law of Kipple,” which was part of London Design Festival this month. (via Creative Review)

 

 



Art

Artist ‘Bordalo II’ Brings Trash and Found Objects to Life on the Streets of Lisbon

September 16, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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For the past few months Portuguese artist Bordalo II (previously) has been stalking the streets of Lisbon looking for heaps of trash. Using mounds of discarded plastic sheeting, old tires, shingles, and tangles of electrical cable, he carefully repositions everything before spray painting it to resemble animals and insects. You can see more from the ongoing series on Facebook.

 

 



Art

A Sculptural Cloud of Plastic Bottles Illustrates One Hour of Trash in NYC

July 10, 2014

Johnny Waldman

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All photos by Chuck Choi courtesy Studio KCA

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If you visited Governor’s Island in New York last summer you most certainly saw the billowing, cloud-like structure that sits in the middle of the lawn. And if you’re anything like my kids you probably dashed up to it to see exactly what thing was. But it’s not until you get up close that you realize it’s made from many, many plastic bottles stringed together. “53,780 used plastic bottles,” says designer Jason Klimoski, “the number thrown away in NYC in just 1 hour.” Klimoski and his team at STUDIO KCA collected the bottles – a combination of milk jugs and water bottles – and lashed them together to create “Head in the Clouds,” a pavilion people can walk into, sit inside, and contemplate just how much plastic is thrown away every day.

The structure, however, was temporary and the team is now looking for its next home. If you’re interested in having this in your back yard get in touch with the designers.

 

 



Art

Historical Fine Oil Portraits on Crumpled Trash by Kim Alsbrooks

June 9, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Philadelphia artist Kim Alsbrooks recreates historical oil portraits on flattened beers cans and fast food containers. Titled “My White Trash Family” the series was conceived while Alsbrook was living in the south and found herself grappling with prevailing ideas of class. She shares via a statement about the project:

The White Trash Series was developed while living in the South out of frustration with some of the prevailing ideologies, in particular, class distinction. This ideology seems to be based on a combination of myth, biased history and a bizarre sentimentality about old wars and social structures. With the juxtaposition of the portraits from museums, once painted on ivory, now on flattened trash like beer cans and fast food containers, the artist sets out to even the playing field, challenging the perception of the social elite in today’s society.

Filmmaker Jesse Brass recently caught up with Alsbrook to interview her for his Making Art series. Watch it above.

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