Through the metamorphic conversion of discarded paraphernalia given a second life, art created from materials otherwise destined for a landfill has turned waste into resource. In a conscious reflection of a recycled object’s inherent value as a cultural statement, the fragmented disarray of salvaged goods conjoin as a reflection on the surplus of consumerism. Computer relics and plastic toys from the 1990’s resurface as jarring, three-dimensional works that reestablish a value beyond their initial introduction as cultural commodities. Extending the life of goods long since forgotten, the immortalization of a wastefulness that continues to swell stands as not only a poignant reminder of the ecological decay resulting from our consumption, but the opportunity to revisit and remake otherwise quotidian, superfluous goods.
Working predominately, if not entirely, with upcycled goods, the following artists create stunning installation and sculptural works that are a visual whirlpool of texture, color and line.
London-based artist Dominic Wilcox’s novel incorporation of miniaturized figurines into the seemingly mundane encapsulates and immortalizes otherwise fleeting moments of despair, joy, and anxiety. Through a romanticized simulacrum, works such as Wilcox’s delicately crafted watch sculptures alongside his notorious War Bowl invites a new perspective on otherwise commonplace activities. In describing his work, Wilcox notes “I spend most of my time attempting to reveal the hidden surprises which are embedded within the banal, everyday things that surround us.”
Through a conjoined and whimsical flurry of discarded plastic, UK-based artist Robert Bradford creates sculptural toys by reclaiming the remnants of dismembered figurines, cars, plastic clips and other household paraphernalia. Paired alongside an alluring saturation of color and texture, Bradford’s hyper-detailed and semi-distorted works call to mind the unsettling state of consumer waste while playfully introducing a return to childhood.
St. Louis-based artist Sarah Frost’s careful manipulation of keys ripped from the boards of old computer keyboards and discarded goods organized by color vibrate through a subtly in texture and capricious patterns. The large scale installation pieces stand in place as a reflection on the remnants left behind in the wake of a commodity-driven culture. Through Frost’s meticulous accumulation of consumer waste, a history of each previous owner’s wear and tear collide as beautifully re-imagined apparatuses.
Upcycle artist Gabriel Dishaw’s intricate and stunning mechanical sculptures marry the excess of pop culture kitsch with a consciousness towards environmentalism. Dishaw’s use of found objects, namely hard drives and components stripped from old typewriters, has re-envisioned the waste of consumerism in a post-apocalyptic fashion. With a multitude of layers, both literal and implied, Dishaw notes that his work seeks to “create dialogue and help find creative ways of dealing with discarded tech.”
With a congregation of anthropomorphic and multi-textiled creatures, Sacramento-based artist Elisabeth Higgins O’Conner’s fantastical sculptural works teeter between childhood nostalgia and a vague, incongruous familiarity. Utilizing discarded bedding alongside other abandoned material scraps, O’Conner’s fabricated creatures seem to loom within their space as long-forgotten, crouched and maltreated dolls. Through the contrast of soft materials paired alongside an otherwise unwelcoming demeanor, O’Conner’s sculptural creations present an unnerving juxtaposition between grim anxiety and youthful reckless abandon.