They came. They saw. They voted.
Visitors to the 2019 GLEAN exhibition last month took in a diversity of art work—created by five local artists out of items and material scavenged from the Metro Central transfer station in Northwest Portland.
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Applications from artists for next year’s program will be accepted starting Jan. 1, 2020.
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The artists, participants in the annual GLEAN program, had five months to transform the “trash” they found into pieces of art.
Throughout the exhibit, people filled out ballots nominating their favorite work by each artist and sharing a bit about why.
“Powerful statement on how we manipulate and use? abuse? our world.”
“Excellent statement about the absurdity of consumerism and clout.”
“Powerful images of ‘discarded’ people, devalued by ‘society’ because of their race and culture.”
Here are the winning pieces and a selection of comments:
Winning piece: Hanging Valley (#6)
Calvert used material she normally wouldn’t—like screen doors, ropes and roofing paper—to explore the nature of relationships.
“I can get the sense of security, holding, cradling but also strapped in. Your piece conveys both sides.”
“Loved the idea that something so fragile can be built into something so strong.”
“Gorgeous and sensory. Beautiful use of material and compelling.”
Winning piece: Waterfall is a fountain (#10)
Several of Mease’s pieces combined electricity, light, water, and functional objects into dynamic sculptures.
”I love how all of Asa’s pieces, while different at a glance, speak to each other in ecological themes and materials.”
“Great juxtaposition of nature and human-made.”
“Oh nostalgia! So much 70s. Excellent!”
Jeremy Okai Davis
Winning piece: Erased (#38)
People responded strongly to Davis’ blending of personal and historical references to race and oppression into his portraits.
”This piece immediately hit me like a ton of bricks. The erasure of children of color is what it said. It needs to be visible, how this occurs, how they disappear.”
“Being an educator getting ready to launch a new school year, Erased was particularly haunting.”
Winning piece: A herd, a plague, a murmuration 1 (#45)
Jewelry maker and metal worker, Paredes turned her focus to plastics—melting and molding shapes of life forms—during her GLEAN residency.
“Casting plastic as a precious metal highlights the paradox of single use plastics, constructs of extreme longevity used frivolously. A testament to how plastic should be viewed, as a precious resource.”
“Your title is fabulous!”
”A moving image of how wasted objects can be a source of beauty and solace in this culture of often mindless consumption.”
Winning piece: Tiffany Piggy Bank Diptych (#19)
Prado used discarded architectural drawings as canvases to highlight real-life, high-priced products found online.
”My daughter’s friends prioritize brands which she finds silly; this really speaks to her feelings. So much thoughtless consumption.”
“The astounding aspect of this piece exists in its research, the fact that all listed prices are genuine.”
”Warhol comes to mind.”
GLEAN is a partnership between Metro, the government that manages the garbage and recycling system; Recology, a company that manages garbage and recycling for greater Portland; and crackedpots, a local environmental arts nonprofit.