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Solid Waste

Digital prints on paper

In progress

In her book Objects of Desire: The Modern Still Life (1997), art historian Margit Rowell discusses how the practice of still-life painting, by subtracting objects from space and time and from cultural and historical associations, reinforces their physicality. In other words, objects need no longer be interpreted simply as products to be used and put away or consumed and discarded, but also as sources of meditation. For Rowell as for myself, it is the tension between these two ways of approaching them, between seeing the subjects of still-life in a utilitarian light or seeing them in an aesthetic one, that brings the latter to the fore, allowing viewers to find a form beautiful that long-standing habit would cause them otherwise to ignore.

Solid Waste is an attempt to render the familiar plastic objects of my daily life mysterious and formally beautiful. Similar to the work of Giorgio Morandi, I have removed any outward manifestations of meaning, leaving the viewer instead to contemplate only form, color, and composition. As with much of my other work in plastic, I have chosen garbage as the source material for a new creative act, which the title Solid Waste, the formal term for a certain type of refuse, ironically reinforces. Waste can be seen literally, as the bottles and jugs that we thoughtlessly throw away every day, but also in a more metaphorical sense—How much beauty do we waste simply by ignoring the familiar?

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