Five local artists have been selected to make art out of the Portland area’s trash.
GLEAN is an annual art program that taps the creativity of artists to inspire people to think about the waste they generate and the resources they throw away. Artists selected are given license to rummage the piles of Metro Central transfer station for the materials they’ll use to create a body of work that will be exhibited in a local gallery later this year.
Meet this year's GLEAN jury
A jury of arts and environmental professionals selected the roster of 2019 GLEAN artists from a pool of nearly 120 applicants. This year’s group brings diverse backgrounds and a broad spectrum of disciplines that includes contemporary sculpture, printmaking, painting, metalsmithing, fiber arts and even stop-motion puppet building.
Here's a bit about this year's artists and what they hope to bring to GLEAN.
Vanessa Calvert is a mixed-media sculptor and installation artist living and working in Portland. Calvert received her Master of Fine Arts in contemporary art practice from Portland State University in 2009. In her work, Calvert says she addresses subjects including domesticity, consumption and identity. Her work has been exhibited around Oregon and Washington. She is an adjunct professor of sculpture and design at Portland Community College.
“I’m most excited about letting the discoveries and hidden treasures at the transfer station lead me down new paths – letting these materials inspire the direction of the work and finding new ways to peel back, manipulate and transform whatever comes my way. It’s exciting to let go of some of the preconceived notions of what I want and need for my work and let the experience of gleaning take over!”
Jeremy Okai Davis was born in Charlotte, NC. From a young age, Davis says, his art was an outlet and way of existing in the world. After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, he moved to Portland to pursue a professional practice. In his portrait work, Davis says he wants to invite further exploration and to challenge the way we view people of color. His current work is focused on his personal life and the current cultural climate.
“I'm most looking forward to gathering some new inspiration for my work. As a painter, working in the two-dimensional realm is my safe zone. I'm excited about potentially adding some found three-dimensional elements into my work and what better place for surprises than the dump. I'm hoping to throw my practice for a little bit of a loop and see where I come out on the other end of it all.”
Asa Mease received his bachelor’s degree in studio art and biology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. He says his work in printmaking, book arts, textiles and sculpture explores the production, re-production and collection of objects in the Anthropocene. He currently lives and works in Milwaukie and is a member of Flight 64 Studio in Portland. His work has been shown in galleries around the U.S. and is included in public and private collections.
“There are a lot of unknowns at the beginning of this residency, and I am interested to see where the materials I come across lead my art making. All of the material gleaned so far has felt like a coincidence, so I plan to spend more time at the Metro Central transfer station so I can have more happenstance discoveries.”
Miel-Margarita Paredes is a metalsmith, jewelry maker and stop-motion puppet skeleton builder. She was born in Suva, Fiji and studied metalsmithing at California College of Art and Craft and the University of Wisconsin. She says she incorporates animal figures and traditional ornaments into her metal work as away to interpret the ways humans manipulate the environment to suit our needs.
“Most of my past work is made from copper and other non-ferrous metals, using traditional metalsmithing techniques. During my GLEAN residency, I am hoping to get a chance to experiment with different materials — plastics in particular. I would like to apply my craft techniques to the discarded materials I find, to make them over into something precious.”
Lauren Prado uses fiber, yarn and needles to create representations of the digital images and products that flood our online feeds. Prado was a high school teacher for three years, and says that experience largely influenced her interest in pop culture and the way young people present themselves online. Prado received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from La Sierra University and is a current Master of Fine Arts candidate in the Visual Studies program at Pacific Northwest College of Art. She has most recently exhibited work at the Lodge Gallery in Portland and was featured in Radicle Magazine’s 2018 issue.
“Of course, hunting for the perfect materials is the super exciting part of this residency! But I’m also excited to open up a conversation (through the artwork itself) about low-brow and accessible materials to create representations of luxury items! I can’t wait to start on this project.”
GLEAN was created in 2010 and is made possible through a partnership between Metro, the government that manages the greater Portland area's garbage and recycling system; Recology, an employee-owned company that manages resource recovery facilities; and crackedpots, a local environmental arts nonprofit.
Follow the artists' journeys on Metro’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter streams and GLEAN’s website, Instagram and Facebook feed.