My mind is in the gutter; constantly looking for plastic straws and lids in the street and on the beach. In parking lots and along roadways, I gather fallen urban fruit from the filthy orchard of our consumer culture.
This daily practice is the foundational action from which I have created Gather. The works in the exhibition engage literally and metaphorically with notions of picking up, collecting, and coming together in the context of plastic pollution and climate change.
Synthesizing many years of witnessing the ocean wilderness as a scuba diver, the visual richness of the underwater world and its organic processes of life and death, gender fluidity, reproduction, and communication inspire me. I utilize salvaged fishing nets, fish and crab traps, bait baskets and other former instruments of death; though porous, they carry the weight of phantom multitudes.
Their open mesh recalls the clear bodies of many marine species whose interiors are visible. Each net has a quirky asymmetry, brought about by prior vigorous use, that I respond to. They enable my formal and narrative exploration of transparency, weight, scale, texture, and color. I stretch and cover; cutting, knotting and tying, gathering and binding, I make each piece in cycles of repetition and improvisation.
While diving, I am always fascinated by wildly encrusted mooring blocks, ropes, and a huge array of other surfaces whose takeover by intricate colonies of sea life is underway. These colonial creatures transform whatever object they encrust into something entirely new: a pseudomorph, or “false form”. A ghost of the original.
Gather presents encrustation pseudomorphs, transparent bodies, and patterns of communication and perception in an installation of sculptures suspended from the ceiling, while a large group of intimately scaled pieces - Anemones - grows on one wall.
I insist that plastic trash such as salvaged nets, rope, straws, hairbands, etc. can be beautiful as artwork material. Gather asks us to collectively confront the possibilities of what we thoughtlessly discard, giving agency to the rejected as it assumes space in the realm of cultural dialogue, alluding to what is overlooked and wasted.
Blue McRight’s daily practice of picking up and collecting plastic pollution is the foundational action from which she has created the works in her new exhibition, Gather. As a long-time scuba diver, she has witnessed the organic processes of the underwater world, life and death, gender fluidity, reproduction and communication. Her sculpture is made of salvaged plastic straws, rope and hairbands, but also former instruments of death such as fishing nets, fish and crab traps and bait baskets. She assembles these materials into flowing, intertwined conglomerates that, when suspended from the ceiling, give the impression of floating within a tall kelp forest. Other forms resemble colorful, spikey, sea anemones attached to the wall. She states, “while diving, I am always fascinated by wildly encrusted mooring blocks, ropes, and a huge array of other surfaces whose takeover by intricate colonies of sea life is underway.” Shakespeare describes the process as “a sea change into something rich and strange.” The netting she employs, in some cases actual fishing net, and in others plastic mesh wrapping from Christmas trees or small cheese wheels, recalls the clear bodies of many marine species whose interiors are visible. Her re-imagining and repurposing of these materials “asks us to confront the possibilities of what we thoughtlessly discard, giving agency to the rejected as it assumes space in the realm of the cultural dialogue.”