Escape from the Landfill
The Huntington Beach Art Center is presenting an original curated exhibition in the Main Galleries entitled, Escape from the Landfill. This three-person exhibition features new site-specific large scale sculpture and installation by Joyce Dallal, Olga Lah and Cynthia Minet. The artists combine discarded and repurposed materials to address issues concerning plastics in our environment, consumerism, and energy consumption. The exhibition opens with a reception scheduled for Saturday, July 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. The artists will be in attendance and the reception is free and open to the public. The exhibition continues through September 1.
Cynthia Minet’s new installation for Huntington Beach Art Center is titled, Ox Pull and is part of an ongoing project, Unsustainable Creatures. Minet repurposes and recycles plastic objects and containers culled from discount and hardware stores, and rescued from dumpsters, to construct her sculptures of domesticated animals. Lit from within by LED lighting, these creatures glow with a life force that escapes our landfills. Underlying their playful construction, Minet’s sculptures question whether ultimately we will evolve to become the materials that we can’t do without and point to humankind’s dependence on electricity. In Ox Pull, two life-size oxen plow through a field composed of plastic bottles. Inspired by piles of kelp and detritus washed up on the shore, the installation features bottles and other materials attached to a plow made from a found piece of playground equipment. The glowing bottle-strands suggest both entrails and furrows simultaneously. The oxen, in shades of green, yellow and blue, toil through this landscape made from their same materials in an inescapable cycle of use, re-use and refuse.
Joyce Dallal’s sculptural work titled, Receptacle, is essentially a 10-foot tall trash can in the shape of a baby doll. The art work is designed to hold several hundred pounds of used and broken toys that are too thrashed to be donated and contain materials that cannot be recycled. Dallal has collected used and broken toys over the last year and separated the trash from the toys that can be donated. Toys that would have been put into the trash are instead “fed” to the baby. The sculpture becomes an alternative to a landfill as well as a metaphor for a child’s consumption of the culture he or she grows up in. In addition, two new pieces will be premiered at this exhibition. A smaller receptacle that is the first in a series of sculptures titled Litter¬¬—domestically scaled wire wastebasket babies that can be filled with small toys, each in a unique pose. Dallal envisions this new series as sculptures that could be used in the home to showcase beloved used toys rather than toss them, creating a memento of a specific childhood. The second new piece is a short video created in collaboration with writer/director John Flynn, titled Mine, that juxtaposes individual stories about favorite and desired toys with images of the toys collected and disposed of in the Receptacle.
Olga Lah’s installation is site-specific and is made up from thousands of plastic bottle caps that were sourced from local manufacturers seeking to divert leftover product away from the landfill. Starting in the lobby and spanning across the Huntington Beach Art Center’s gallery walls, they move through each space until they end in masse as an encompassing experience in the last gallery. This continues Lah’s continuing interest in the accumulation and repetition of humble materials from previous works. She questions the viewer’s perception by using an accessible object like a bottle cap and multiplying it monumentally in abstract patterns and forms. This sensory driven installation is not intended to question the validity of plastics but how we choose to produce and use them. Ultimately, asking “How does this reflect our overall approach to material consumption, our values, and our future?”