Thursday, September 25, 2014

Plastic World: Mary Ellen Croteau at Yellow Springs Arts Council

“Plastic World”
work by
Mary Ellen Croteau
October 17th-November 9th
bottlecap mosaic art

I could just shut up. Show you pictures of her stunning artwork and let them speak for themselves.  But then you might not realize that they are all made out of plastic waste, the stuff that doesn’t get recycled.
Mary Ellen Croteau - Unconventional Mosaic Art
Mary Ellen Croteau, a Chicago based eco, feminist artist, is not averse to controversy.  For many years she has been an active Feminist Artist with an international reputation, producing witty, sophisticated art that shafts the status quo of our male dominated society. 
Plastic World
In recent years, she has developed a strong opinion about what we so easily throw into the landfill in our consumer society.  Ironically, she creates beautiful art out of waste to bring it to our attention. 
“I conceived of an endless column of these caps and jar lids, after Constantin Brancusi’s iconic modernist sculpture.  One became two, and two became many. While making these columns, I noticed the smaller caps tended to nest inside one another, and the color combinations reminded me of Chuck Close’s painted portraits.  So I got sidetracked and started on a large self-portrait (which I titled CLOSE) made entirely of bottle caps. “ 
At over 7000 plastic caps and measuring over 8’x7’ it’s an amazing piece, but a little big for our gallery. 
The YSAC Gallery, will feature some of Mary Ellen’s smaller bottle cap pieces, including
My Eye, which at 30” x 38” is about 5 times the detail of the eye in her large self-portrait.

In her series Bag World, Mary Ellen explored the ubiquity of plastic bags in the environment.  The first project was the making of a braided bag rope with plastic bags that she accumulated over a 7-month period.   She titled that project: A Measure of Consumption: 225 days, 68 meters.

She has also painted replicas of works by VanGogh, O'Keeffe, Monet, deChirico and Matisse, with plastic bags painted into the beautiful landscapes. Then in her installation, she made it impossible to get up close to the art except by wading through a foot high bag-strewn floor.
“I firmly believe in the power of the visual, and my work is my voice: a social critique and a visual challenge to all the cultural detritus we are force-fed every day.  My art is about looking at things in a slightly different way, and is intended to undermine the status quo with wit and humor. “

Come meet Mary Ellen Croteau at our Reception: October 17th 6-9 p.m.
The Yellow Springs Arts Council Community Gallery
111 Corry Street, Yellow Springs Ohio
Open hours at the gallery: Wednesday-Sunday 1-4