Artist Statement – Recycled Plastic Bag Art

//Artist Statement – Recycled Plastic Bag Art

A series of artworks were developed using recycled plastic bags as the primary medium, “Blue River” is one of the most significant of these works using this medium. This work was a finalist in the 2003 Wynne prize at the Art Gallery of NSW.

This work was a slight departure from the more recognizable assemblage works in which plastics and other detritus collected from the Eastern Australian seaboard were used, “Thong Totems” which won the Wynne Prize in 2000 is a good example.

In using this recycled plastic bag medium, apart from wishing to express obvious environmental messages, there is a particular interest in the brilliance of the colours and textures available in working with this medium. There is a constant surprised to see the variations in these plastics; very much like the intrigue experienced by the beach found objects collected over the years.

It is imagined that 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.

It is worth mentioning, 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. Other countries have now introduced this policy, including various locations in Australia.

Once again, there is the ability as a contemporary visual artist, in using these recycled materials, to create artworks which, it is hoped express a certain beauty as well as containing their own unique environmental messages.

John Dahlsen.

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I developed works beginning in 2003 using recycled plastic bags as the primary medium, “Blue River” was one of these works using this medium. This work was a finalist in the 2003 Wynne prize at the Art Gallery of NSW. These works signalled a slight departure from my more recognizable assemblage works, in which I used plastics and other detritus collected from the Eastern seaboard, “Thong Totems” which won the Wynne Prize in 2000 is a good example.

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 many 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.

John Dahlsen.

2018-10-24T00:59:43+00:00

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