Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, OR

By Allyn Cantor 
Examining the environmental, aesthetic and technological implications of plastic and how it infi ltrates virtually every aspect of our lives, this exhibition includes work by 30 emerging and mid-career contemporary artists from around the world.
Confronting past, present and future roles of plastic items as all-encompassing, the exhibition charts a timeline of our ongoing relationship with the pervasive materialin three thematic sections. “The Archive” examines how plastic objects from the mid-twentieth century onwards can act as a record of daily life. “The Entangled Present” shows the far-reaching effect of plastic on ecological networks across the globe and how the material inadvertently binds people, plants and animals. “Speculative Futures” concludes with ideas emerging from the omnipresence of plastic, such as new eologic and biologic forms.
It’s nearly impossible to talk about plastic refuse as an artistic medium without alluding to consumerism and excess, as in Dianna Cohen’s patchwork assemblage of plastic bags or Steve McPherson’s eloquently organized mandala form of unaltered marine objects. This poignant exhibition includes stellar works by a roster of artists who employ the inorganic everyday material with ingenuity, including MoreshinAllahyari Willie Cole, Chris Jordan, Vik Muniz and Aurora Robson.
Organized by the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State University, Plastic Entanglements is set to travel nationally over the next two years, to the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, Mass., and the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wis.

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