Trash can treasures

REVIEW: Local artists make an environmental statement by using common recycled materials in surprising new ways.

Walking into the Think Green art exhibition in the Main Gallery, my eyes are drawn to socks on the left wall. This work by Laurel Paley perks my interest.

Some are tattered and worn, giving the gist of what the exhibit is about: wastefulness in our consumer culture.

Right above me, old-fashioned potholders are linked together in intertwined colors of cherry red, pastel blue and hunter green. Looking at the detail of interwoven bits of fabric in The Longest Potholder makes me feel alive, maybe because I know that about 1,000 people have worked on it.

Not far away, Elena Wolek turned 1,000 white plastic shopping bags into a chair -sized, slouchy handbag.

This shows how to put plastic to good use, creating art instead of choking up landfills.

Another of Wolek’s pieces, Red Thing, is constructed of shopping bags that are bell-shaped vibrant red, and dangling from the ceiling like a chandelier.

All artworks are spaced about two feet away from each other, giving the room an airy yet organized feel.

I stop in front of each piece, wanting to know what they mean and how the artist
created them.

Some, like Betsy Lohrer Hall’s are constructed from old cardboard boxes; some use materials that can be found in almost any garage like Libby Gerber’s pieces set in concrete.

Money appears in five of the art pieces by Nadar Haffar and Richard Johnson. Test Tube Dollars echoes the theme of consumer waste.

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One-dollar bills are rolled up and placed in plastic tube-like containers, suggesting mindless spending.


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