Our September/October 2009 Sampling section features artists that recycle common
materials to make something new in their work. Here we share additional images
by our included artists.
received her MA in art therapy from Edith Cowan University—Mount Lawley,
Western Australia, and her BA in psychology from Murdoch University, Perth, Western
Australia. Inspired by the Australian landscape she calls home, along with her
background in art therapy and psychology, Atkins’s work focuses on the “complex
interaction of direct external observations and internal emotions, experiences
and processes.” Using machine thread, Atkins converts natural materials,
such as native Australian grasses and plants, into constructions of nature as
if perceived by the mind’s eye. She hopes to uncover, through her art, the
“personal yet collective” symbols and metaphors we use to connect
with our surroundings.
Convoy (with detail), 2009; guildford grass, reclaimed timber
and found objects; machine-stitched; 21" x 63" x 8". Photo: Eva
Tall Poppy (with detail), 2008; guildford grass, found wood;
machine-stitched; 15¾" x 15¾" x 4". Photo: Eva Fernandez.
Johnston Foster received his MFA from Hunter College of
The City University of New York and his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University,
Richmond, where he now teaches. He also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting
and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine. Having scavenged for discarded materials from
highway medians, dumpsters, and alleyways, Foster assembles sculptures from “trash”
that depict scenes of social unrest with almost comic absurdity. Thematically
rich, Foster’s work derives meaning from collision (collision of old and
new, lost and found, temptation and futility) to acknowledge an even grander aspiration/calamity—order
Life Psychotic II, 2009; traffic cones, plastic, wood, carpet,
textiles, rubber; 78" x 60" x 24". Image courtesy of Rare
Gallery, New York.
Fair Game, 2005; wood, fabrics, carpet, foam, rubber, plastic,
rope; 12' x 23' 6" x 9' 6". Image courtesy of Rare Gallery, New York.
Photo: Bill Orcutt.
A self-taught weaver from Tennessee, Judi Gaston has turned
recycling into a fashion statement. Grocery bags, old photographs, spools, fortune
cookie messages, Lipton tea labels, items most would throw out without thinking
twice, Gaston incorporates into the designs for her recycled wearable-art collection.
Transforming bottle caps into buttons, plastic newspaper sleeves into fabric,
and turkey bones from Thanksgiving dinner into neckline embellishments, Gaston
admits to her enthusiasm for making art that has history. Her garments accentuate
the lives of those who wear them, assembled from items with lives of their own.
Kroger Calypso (with detail of jacket), 2008; grocery bags,
vintage buttons; handwoven.
Recycle: Pattern for Life II (with detail of jacket), 2008;
vintage dress patterns, thread spools, thread-spool-information tops, vintage
Photos: David Habercom.
Rush Lee received her MFA and BFA in ceramics from the University of Hawaii
at Manoa. She also studied under Joan Livingstone at the School of the Art Institute
of Chicago. Drawing inspiration from materials found in everyday life, Lee has
turned her attention toward used books, granting them new life as “sculptures
that explore and redefine the book as a familiar object, medium, and archetypal
form.” Lee uses various methods (soaking pages in water, embedding book
spines into gypsum cement, and kiln processes among them) to remodel her books
into a collection of geometric figures, hoping to create “evocative art
forms that suggest an alternative narrative.”
Unfurled III (with detail), 2008; used book, ink; handpainted;
6" x 6½" x 6".
Flutter (with detail), 2008; used book, ink; handpainted;
3½" x 6" x 5".
Photos: Paul Kodam