Flotsam Clusters “Nothing New”
Decade long project of digitally prepared prints, found object sculpture and installations
2005 - 2016 • Lowell Nickel
“Nothing New, again” ’
By studying human discards archaeologists have reconstructed most of what we know about the past. It is this kind of examination of flotsam that Nickel presents us with i.e. aspects of our present population's demographics and consumer habits. This artistic investigation into the beached rubbish can be subscribed by what has recently been defined as the “Anthropocene”. The term Anthropocene or Homocene Epoch begins when human activities started to have a significant global impact on earth's geology and ecosystems. The basic concept of Nickel’s art project can be strengthened by a perceptible model of a geologically (human disposed) stratification.
As a devoted beachcomber and lifelong roadside treasure hunter Nickel sees these deposited materials as our own footprint to be weather away into our own layered earth strata. The weathering forces of nature serve as the ultimate liberator of all manmade materials… this does not come without alterations of risky consequence.
“I have always enjoyed playing with the formal principals of art making. That said; it has also been my intention to venture beyond the specific problems of aesthetic resolution. I seek to invoke a lyrical rebirth of this subject matter, restated, cleansed and yet caustic. This strategy i.e. a renewal of this urban flotsam through re-contextualization, whereas, rubbish with all it’s seasoned attributes somehow displays breath and elegance. This artwork is designed and presented to slyly seduce the viewer, with or with out an environmental narrative.”
There’s nothing new here… it is all just repackaged and recycled. These images and installation work may even challenge the viewer to consider tracking ones own steps (see “Foot-ware" installations) relative to a personal recognition of a much larger cultural foot print.
Faux Stones project: The California East Mojave desert is an expansive area that is to be walked upon. The washes and alluvium fans are to be explored if not just for the pleasures of place but to aid recover from NDD (Nature Deficit Disorder). These stoneware objects are hollow with porcelain spheres (seeded) inside... so to form as a geode over time. This Faux Stone project is a annual transendent ritual for me as I will (GPS) site these stoneware objects back to from whence it came. This annual desert trekk has become a pilgimage for me.