Five-month scavenging process to culminate in exhibit Aug. 14 to Sept. 6
Five local artists were recently chosen by a jury of arts and environmental professionals to participate in GLEAN, an environmental arts program that will send them digging through discards to bring attention to excessive waste generation and reuse issues. Each will conjure innovative ways to reassemble trash into at least 10 pieces of art, which will be on exhibition at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center for a month beginning in mid-August.
The artists, whose typical media and styles vary from wood, textiles and metals to robotic sculpture and traditional Indonesian mask carving, include Schel Harris, Brian Hutsebout, Beckey Kaye, Brenda Mallory and Rio Wrenn.
Paid a stipend to spend five months gleaning materials discarded at the Metro Central Transfer Station in Northwest Portland, the artists blog about their experiences and give a behind-the-scene look at their process.
Now in its fifth year, GLEAN prompts people to think about their consumption habits, inspire creative reuse and initiate larger conversations about waste generation. The program is a collaboration between crackedpots, an environmental arts organizations, Recology, an employee-owned company that manages resource recovery facilities, and Metro, that manages the region's garbage and recycling system. Inspiration for the program comes from the renowned Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Program.
In its first four years, the local program attracted thousands of artists, arts patrons, students of the arts and others. Watch this video of the artists from the 2014 program as they sort through garbage at the dump, shape it into works of art in their studios, and hear people’s reactions to it at the opening reception.
GLEAN exhibition 2015
Disjecta, 8371 N. Interstate Ave., Portland
Exhibit runs Aug. 14 to Sept. 6
Opening reception: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14
Gallery hours: noon to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday
About the artists
Schel Harris works in both two-dimensional painting and graphics as well as three-dimensional, mixed-media sculpture. Largely self-taught, Harris uses his creative skills in many different areas, including film and stage production, signage and display, photography, painting, illustration, book design and robotic sculpture.
Since moving to Portland in 2007, he has participated in several group and solo shows, including an exhibition at Disjecta. He proposes to create small and large automatons (robotic animal sculptures) and shadowbox pieces. He is excited and committed to using art to bring attention to issues of waste and excessive consumption.
Multi-disciplinary artist Brian Hutsebout has a foundation in traditional craft processes and graphic design, both of which influence the aesthetic and functional decisions revealed in his sculptural and socially-engaged work. He is interested in giving value to the discarded object while emphasizing the extent to which objects are simply thrown away instead of being reused or repaired. He hopes to emphasize the importance of maintaining skill-based trades that are being lost to mass production.
Hutsebout received a BFA in Graphic Design from Southern Georgia University and an MFA in Applied Craft and Design from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts.
Artist Brenda Mallory is an eco-conscious recycler and composter who often works with found materials. Using cloth scraps from commercially sewn products, she creates mixed-media pieces that frequently involve duplicating forms and repetitive processes, transforming materials that have been deemed "worthless" into thought-provoking and beautiful works of art.
Mallory has an extensive exhibition history. She has had solo shows at fine arts venues including Butters Gallery and at the Portland International Airport. She is a 2015 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellow, and in 2013 was a resident in Sculpture at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado. She holds a BA in Linguistics from UCLA and received her BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Multi-media artist Beckey Kaye studied mask carving in Indonesia and performed as a fire dancer and puppeteer with Circus Discordia. She is interested in the concept of shelter and what makes a home as it relates to notions of identity, property and safety, as well as its imbued emotional factors of comfort and peace. Her work dissects the notion of home and unravels its polarities and contradictions.
Chapman received a BA in sculpture from California College of the Arts and an MFA from San Francisco State University. She has participated in more than a dozen group exhibitions and three solo exhibitions, including an ongoing permanent exhibition of Hive in Oakland. Continuing with her exploration of animal architecture, she will create cocoon-like structures of various shapes and sizes. Each chrysalis will be unique in texture, palette and tone and will play with the notion of inner and outer worlds.
Sculptor Rio Wrenn has devoted the last 14 years of her art practice to rust printing and using natural dyes in her work. She combines her own processes with traditional practices from Japanese, Indian and Native American cultures, and grows and harvests many of the materials she uses — plants, insects, rust, trees and berries — to dye her textiles. Her rusting process is an expression of the ephemeral and natural aging and decay in life.
Wrenn received her BA in Interdisciplinary Art and BFA in Sculpture from the University of Washington. She proposes to create a collection of wearable garments combining couture with traditional sacred garments from other cultures.
For information about GLEAN or the featured artists contact Amy Wilson, GLEAN program manager, at 503-278-0725