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February 13, 2008 > Waste Not, Want Not

Waste Not, Want Not

By Anuja Seith

Enjoy a different kind of art at the Olive Hyde Art Gallery, where some of the most mundane material like trash bags, landfill and pizza boxes are transformed into artistic creations at the "Waste Not, Want Not" exhibition. "The everyday or mundane object or material can be transformed from useless or used up to precious, humorous, uncanny or any other possible new meaning," said Sandra Hemsworth, Curator at Olive Hyde Art Gallery. The show according to Hemsworth, is about being economical, ecological and resourceful both physically and conceptually and generate a community dialogue. In this exhibit, each artist finds some everyday bits and pieces to give birth to a whole new creation.

Peter Langenbach makes life structure pieces from landfill construction. "I collect construction wood, plywood scrap when people re-roof their homes, house paints and stuff from the garbage dump," said Langenbach, artist and retired art teacher. Langenbach says he uses recycling material out of choice and not necessity. "My parents went through depression era and 'waste not, want not' is exactly the way I was brought up." While Langenbach's inspiration stems from his upbringing, Reiko Fujii began using recycled material following her mentor, an environmental artist. "I became more aware about how much trash we generate and started using things like spaghetti and cardboard boxes," she said. For this exhibition, Fujii made collages from "leftover newspapers," that had some spilled color on them from other projects. "Art material is expensive so if you can be creative with things around you then there is no need to spend money as art can be created from anything," she said.

For some artists like Lauren Usher from Berkley, using recycling material has a profound meaning. "I want to convey that everything matters even these discarded materials that are taken for granted," said Usher. Through her work, she aims to explain the interconnectedness we share with all the people and things we use. So, she carves pictures out of Linoleum, a kind of a rubber stamp, and imprints on toilet paper. She said she feels connected to the person who invented toilet paper, the workers who made the toilet paper in a factory, the delivery truck drivers who drove it and delivered it to the store where she eventually bought it, and the various people she passed on her way to and from the store. Usher also uses acrylic paints on pizza boxes and trash bags to make portraits of people.

Darla Mckenna, an artist from San Jose also finds beauty in old and discarded material. She creates a picture montage from magazines and shadow boxes with post cards as background collected from her family over the years. "I try to resurrect the lost beauty in old and forgotten things to create something new," said McKenna. While Mckenna uses old magazines, Patty Heimburger incorporates recycled fabric scraps for color and texture in her paintings. As the public comes to view this show, Hemsworth encourages viewers to think before they discard unwanted items; an artist might be able to work wonders with it; reinventing and creating something fresh and new.

For more information and to bring school groups to the gallery, contact Irene Jordahl at (510) 494-4228.

Waste Not, Want Not
February 8th-March 8th
Noon -5 p.m.
Olive Hyde Art Gallery
123 Washington Blvd., Fremont
(510) 494-4228

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