Artist’s tend to see the lighter side of excess, consumer waste is filled with both possibility and accountability. Artists Tim Craker and Anna Maria Plescia are adepts at adapting garbage into objects of contemplation, objects that happen to resemble natural forms.
“I am fascinated by mobiles, and often use soft durable plastics like take-way food containers,” explains Craker about his recent airborne works. “For me the installation stems from a response to art materials. The work is not primarily inspired by wanting to work with waste materials, but by seeing materials or objects that have a certain possibility, I want to see what these things these materials can do.”
“People often assume that the work is all about recycling, and that - for example - I have collected and washed used takeaway food containers to make art. In fact I purchased the containers new - I wanted them to be smooth and clean, shiny and uniform and in large quantities, and instantly available. Of course the work does make a necessary reference to our use – both over-use and mis-use -of disposable plastics, but that is a secondary meaning to me - or rather, not the reason I made it. It's more about seeing other purposes for everyday objects, and realising unseen potentials.”
For artist Anna Maria Plescia , her interest in using waste materials came during her time studying at RMIT.
” We were encouraged to use waste material like old phone books, cheap and easy available material including street leftovers , two dollar shop products that are quickly disposed of by consumers, toothpicks for example. We were encouraged to use waste alongside traditional materials like canvas.”
“For an artist with limited means, waste is an inexpensive medium easily available. That said, we don’t see it on the streets as much- you need to be a scavenger today more than ever before, recycling is happening on a bigger scale, throw away phone books are harder to find.”
“My work in last year’s exhibition was made by cutting phone books carefully with a band saw, organised to look like a pool of water was flowing from the wall. It was a work about excess, excessive waste, excess information, and that waste is also a part of nature now.”
“I'm more in to the beauty of waste, that’s what turns me on as an artist, there is beauty where you would least expect it. I like to make a work that provides a sense of the miraculous, a transformation or regeneration, like there is life after death. This year my work, Anew (2011), is like a small tree trunk with two major limbs, a canvas and toothpick combination, it has both an inside and an outside, both equally important, it looks a little threatening too.”
Craker’s new work, Web (2011), is a delicate interlacing of green waste, ‘recycled’ fennel that grows wild along train tracks, an Islamic patterning of sorts, “it’s a work about adaptation now- I was inspired by an old school text, The Web of Life- as a child I though the title was corny, but I loved that it was about plants and animals adapting to different environments. Web is an aromatic take about geometrical perfection in an organic imperfect reality.”
Incinerator Arts Complex
Moonee Ponds until June 12
Image below: TAKE (N) AWAY, 2009, Tim Craker
Below: Web (detail), 2011