Recycled plastic is featured in sculpture

By Kate Tilley
Correspondent

Published: August 13, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics In Print

When New Zealand artist Eve Armstrong assembled her sculpture Taking Stock, she had no concept she had actually developed an artwork that contained almost every plastic resin, except polystyrene.

The sculpture features a wide range of “found objects,” predominantly white and transparent plastic items, seemingly randomly placed together.

Armstrong, 34, first assembled the work in 2010 when she was commissioned by a group called Letting Space, which organizes major temporary artworks in commercial and public spaces, rather than galleries. The artwork was installed over two stories inside a vacant retail showroom in Armstrong’s home city, Wellington.

Last year she reassembled a smaller version of the installation for an exhibition in Wellington’s City Gallery, which has just closed.

The gallery catalog describes the work as “commercially produced objects of everyday life scavenged, reordered and represented.”

Armstrong had assistance from the public to collect the massive amount of recycled plastic needed for “Taking Stock.” She also received assistance from two Wellington-based plastics companies, Grayley Plastic Supplies and Flight Group Ltd.

“I set up collection points in galleries, then went round with a trolley and collected everything,” she said.

Armstrong gave donors clear specifications on what was required — clean clear or white recycled plastic items, but no milk bottles. She needed items that could be stacked and propped against each other.

The original Taking Stock, which resembled a secondhand retail outlet, took almost two weeks to assemble. Its reincarnation was put together more quickly.

Armstrong said her sculpture’s form is heavily influenced by the space it is in, working with the available light, the floor surface and the wall heights. In the City Gallery, it is installed in front of a window providing natural light, which gives it an almost translucent glow.

Armstrong said she wanted Taking Stock to have transparency. “It’s a fragile, delicate work,” but the objects it is made from are not. “There’s tension between those two things.”

With the City Gallery exhibition just ending, Armstrong has no idea what the future holds for Taking Stock. “I’m trying to figure that out. I’d like to be able to keep it.”

But she’s not upset that so much of her artwork has a short life span. “I think of it as pausing in the gallery space. That connects with the idea of the fragility of our systems,” for example, the financial system and the global financial crisis that created the empty showroom in which the original Taking Stock was on display for only 10 days. “A lot of my work sinks back into the world.”

Nor is Armstrong trying to convey a message about recycling. “I don’t intend my work to be didactic in any way. I’m interested in the tension between emptiness and fullness and permanence and impermanence.”

And there was no deliberate intent to create a sculpture containing products made from PET, polyethylene, PVC and polypropylene. She said she was not even aware of the diversity of resins Taking Stock included.

Armstrong, who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 2003, is interested in how people respond to her artwork.

“At a visual level, some find it beautiful, others think it’s repulsive,” she said.

Armstrong’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout New Zealand, and in 2008 it was included in a group exhibition in Los Angeles’ 1301PE Gallery, which showcases cutting-edge contemporary artists.


Comments

Recycled plastic is featured in sculpture

By Kate Tilley
Correspondent

Published: August 13, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story

Market Reports

Market Data Book - Rankings & Lists

A one-stop download of Plastic News' exclusive annual lists and processor rankings containing essential data including sales, employees, end markets, materials and more.
EXCLUSIVE EXCEL FEATURE: full mailing address details for available plant locations.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Mold Making and Tooling Review and Outlook 2014 North America

This report provides in-depth analysis of the mold and toolmaking market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats, the latest developments in production and labor and equipment trends impacting moldmakers.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events