Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Discovering art in trash

SVCA's new exhibition embraces recycling

Discovering art in trash

Cindy Tower is producing a work for the Center's new exhibition to be comprised entirely of laundry bottles

A laundry detergent bottle quickly becomes garbage after dispensing its suds. A paper bag from a fast food joint is hastily discarded after delivering its carbohydrate fix. Throwing away mass-produced, inorganic everyday objects is an everyday part of every person's life. But before you drop that paper cup in the nearest trashcan, take a second look at it. There is a surprising beauty to be found in everyday objects.

The Sun Valley Center for the Arts' newest multidisciplinary art project, "Everyday Objects," aims to unmask that beauty. The Center has commissioned artists that use common mass-produced material to produce works for the exhibition. The project coincides with Earth Day in the hope that viewers and participants might reconsider their daily routine and its effects on the environment.

In the Center's gallery artists John Bisbee, Bob Dix, Lisa Hoke, Shelia Pepe and Cindy Tower transform materials such as plastic laundry detergent bottles, construction nails, glass jars, rubber bands and paper cups into abstracted shapes that suggest the natural order and symmetry of organic forms such as flowers, trees, landscapes, and cellular structures. These artists redefine the notion of sculpture and bring new meaning to the act of recycling by using the disposable artifacts of everyday life.

"I wanted to produce something that would be accessible to school groups and also focus on Earth Day and the notion of recycling," explains Jennifer Gately, the exhibition's curator and Visual Arts Director of the Center.

"What does it mean to have our lives filled with all of these mass-produced, cheap inorganic materials, and where do they go once they leave our hands, what can become of them? An object that we use everyday and see it in one context; what happens when we put that aside and look at it in a different light?"

Gately views the exhibition as the perfect opportunity to engage with the community, especially in relation to Earth Day. "There is such a sensitivity to the environment here. We've collaborated with three school groups to create works made from everyday objects. Bob Dix has developed a big sculpture out of a mass of plastic bags. It will be installed below the flagpole at the Hailey Elementary School. He worked with fifth-grade students to develop it. There's also a beautiful piece that will be up at Starbucks, which was created by the Stanley kids. They put together an amazing collage of bottle caps with the help of the volunteer art teacher Elissa Kline."

The Community School in Sun Valley also has become involved in the exhibition. Art teacher Toni Whittington asked students to work with hardware, hinges, heating vents, door knobs and plywood. Their creation can be seen at The Community School Library.

In addition to developing artworks, students from Hailey Elementary and Stanley School will be creating music from found objects as a part of the second half of the Ethos Percussion Group Residency, which was cosponsored by the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.

Playing with the idea of waste and excess, "Everyday Objects" brings to light the reality of our consumer society and its effect on our environment while realizing that beauty can be found in even the most mundane material.

The exhibition will be at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts from April 15 through May 20. The Center is located at 191 East 5th Street in Ketchum. Docent tours of the exhibition will be held every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Teachers are encouraged to bring students to view the exhibition and then create their own art from everyday objects. School tours are provided free of charge. Contact Heather Crocker at 726-9491 x 19 to arrange for a tour.

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