Artist Success

Interviews about John Dahlsen’s Environmental Artwork 12a

During the latter part of 2005 and into 2006, I created a new body of environmental artwork, a series of Synthetic Polymer paintings on Belgian linen, based on the subject matter of plastic “purges” – plastic fabricator machine end waste. ??This work, considers cycles and recycling. I began re-presenting paintings of sculptures that are inherently plastic fabricator machine end waste. The use of plastic materials and their place in the evolutionary motions of recycling are important to me in constructing these images.
I see the real need for the massive social transformations that are essential, to adequately deal with such crises as the depletion of fossil fuels and climate change. I hope this work can be a timely reminder to us all of the limited supply of these petroleum based materials, which is a direct result of our current collective global mass consumerism.

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Interviews about John Dahlsen’s Environmental Artwork 11c

By presenting this art, to the public it will hopefully have people thinking about the deeper meaning of the work, in particular the environmental issues we currently face. I hope these works will act as a constant reminder to people about awareness.

I would like them to find enjoyment the work on many levels and find themselves becoming identified in various ways with each of the artworks they see. I also look forward to the possible discussion that these works may generate as a result.

I say these things as being possibilities, bearing in mind as well that comments are regularly made to me about people’s consciousness, while walking the beach, being awakened after seeing my found plastic object artworks, similarly with seeing my recycled plastic bag series, people have marveled at the creative way I am presenting the recycling theme in an aesthetic way.

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Interviews about John Dahlsen’s Environmental Artwork 11b

I’m 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.

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Interviews about John Dahlsen’s Environmental Artwork 11a

John Dahlsen: I was collecting driftwood, on a remote Victorian Coastline, with the intention of making furniture and stumbled upon vast amounts of plastic ocean debris. This whole new palette of colour and shape revealing itself to me immediately affected me; I had never seen such hues and forms before which enabled me to make new environmental art.?

Since then – for approximately 10 years, I scoured Australian beaches for found objects, much of which I found as washed up ‘ocean litter’. I have since discovered this is a worldwide phenomenon, affecting beaches on a global level.

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Interviews about John Dahlsen’s Environmental Artwork 8

Like a Mark Rothko painting (an influence Dahlsen acknowledges), the colour combinations are at once so subtle yet so strong that they can spur powerful emotions.

The garbage offers a complex range of hues, textures, and sizes. Yet any sense of awe is tempered by the dismay of recollecting what the assemblages are made of. It’s hard not to see that it’s trash inside the frame.

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Interviews about John Dahlsen’s Environmental Artwork 7

John Dahlsen is an Australian found object sculptor.

After a 1983 fire destroyed most of his work, he took time to reflect on his career. While searching a beach for driftwood, he discovered what would turn out to be his most intriguing form of working material. ??Appalled at the amount of trash he encountered, he gathered over eighty bags of washed up garbage, returned to his studio and began a new chapter in his career.
Dahlsen refers to his found object sculptures as “environmental art.” These pieces display a wide range of forms, such as ten foot totems made of old sandals or pieces of plastic detritus sorted by colour and shape mounted between sheets of Plexiglas.

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Interviews about John Dahlsen’s Environmental Artwork 6

When he first started, he stumbled upon vast amounts of plastic ocean debris, collecting them in 80 jumbo garden bags full of beach-found litter. “When I first piled this collection up in my studio, I had friends drop by asking if I was okay!” he adds.
John didn’t see a giant mound of trash – rather, his unseen intelligence was at work. He saw a giant painter’s palate of colours and shapes, hues and forms: selections of yellow coloured plastics, the red, then the blues, the rope and strings, the plastic coke bottles, the thongs… the list goes on.
“As I worked with these objects, I became even more fascinated by the way they had been modified and weathered by the ocean and nature’s elements,” says Mr Dahlsen.

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See John Dahlsen’s Recent Works

Environmental Art by John Dahlsen


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