Wow, just made the deadline for this years Sasol new artist awards… I thought it would be beyond relevant to position my plastic works to Sasol, the number 1 producer of virgin polymers in South Africa.
Title: PYRO - ETHELENUS
100 cm x 50 cm X 60 cm
Hanging or Sitting Sculpture
It is a hanging or sitting sculpture -700 Gms. The form and story relate deeply to the medium used. A plastic bag will live for 500-1000 years, waiting to rise with a new purpose. Rising from the ashes, the material can once again have new life.
Natures' power embodied in a winged fire form holds an enigmatical energy. Fire is alluring, beautiful, helpful and dangerous. The phoenix, a mythological being with exceptional powers has featured in many stories from all around the world.
The form and story relate deeply to the medium used. Discarded polyethylene, when incorrectly used can have dangerous environmental impacts. Known to persist for centuries - like the life span of the phoenix, a plastic bag will live for 500-1000 years, waiting to rise with a new purpose. The transformation represented within the sculpture is to give purpose back to this material. Rising from the ashes, through reuse and recycling the material can once again have new life.
Plastic can be seen to me a metaphorical capturing of the sun's fire, (due to its petroleum origins). Its durability, strength and flexibility are all qualities that make it essential to modern life in the many diverse applications it has.
This work was created especially for the Sasol Signatures new artists competition, as the organization has long been associated with bird life and their well being. My work also follows an environmental theme, educating, informing and entertaining through its creation.
Title: PLASTIC ELEMENTS
1300 cm x 20 cm X 1 500 cm
Discarded Polyethylene - Mounted Light Boxes
The medium is the inspiration for the work. A mixed blessing, plastics are one of the world's most widely used and controversial materials. Exploring this duality is my objective. Putting this everyday substance under the spotlight to examine its luminescent properties, the mysterious nature of its life cycle, afterlife and how it relates to the environment.
The triptych depicts the forces of nature that mechanically break down the Polyethylene matrix bonds. Here I wanted to create new value and meaning to bring purpose back to this material in the sacred manner of art. The first panel demonstrates rapid combustion, the second, fluid dynamics and the third, wind shear. The traditional element of earth as this is known to prolong the life of plastic indefinitely. The representation of Ultra violet photo-degradation is to be the inspiration for another piece.
In an attempt to reuse the material I have collected all of this myself from the treetops, fences, landfill wind debris and local waterways. The frames are also made from "polywood”, using 7 other kinds of plastic, crushed, reheated and extruded into planks. The process of collecting and transformation has given me incredible insights into the paradox that plastic gives humanity. I trust that this work resonates with Sasol as they are the major producers of virgin plastic within South Africa.