This week I choose, John Dahlsen as my artist pick. Dahlsen is an Australian artist who recycles the throw aways in life and landfills into abstracts of beauty and intrigue.
In one collection, he uses plastic bags as his landscape...presses each bag together creating a layered visual field. He gathers the objects and found pieces from Australian beaches and uses them in his installations.
I found the artist's statement best describes his work:
"I am with this work, apart from wishing to express obvious environmental messages, particularly interested in the brilliance of the colours and textures available to me in working with this medium. I am constantly surprised to see the variations in these plastics, very much like how I am intrigued by the beach found objects I have collected over the years.
I imagine these plastic bags, which mostly have a lifespan of up to 450 years, are in fact on the verge of extinction, as it is only a matter of time before governments impose such strict deterrents to people using them that they become a thing of the past. A fitting end to what has become such a scourge to our environment on a worldwide scale.
As a point of discussion, the Irish Government imposed a 10 cent levy on the use of these bags some years ago and saw the consumption of this product decrease by approximately 90% within a year, a reduction of many billions of plastic bags per year!
Once again, I am able as a contemporary visual artist, to use these recycled materials, to create artworks which I hope, express a certain beauty as well as containing their oun unique environmental messages..."
I admire this recycling of throw away's in our society as an art form and I'm hoping Dahlsen is correct in seeing it as a thing not used any more in the near future. It's a sad thought that so much energy is used to create plastic bags just to be discarded or recycled (which isn't not a bad thing but still requires energy to recycle that thing). If a person can reuse something (like a cloth bag...and I'm one who definitely needs to do this more), then we should.