What a waste

December 3, 2019 | Arts & Culture
First-year Fine Art students snapped photos of impossibly intertwined plastic and metal as their bus slowly rolled by a huge pile of discarded electronics.

The tour was just one part of their field trip to the Edmonton Waste Management Centre in early November. The students of the ARTE 107: 3D Foundations class were joined by Leanne Olson, whose With All Things Considered exhibition wraps up in the Mitchell Art Gallery (MAG) on December 7.

The field trip, which kicked off a final project in Assistant Professor Kerri-Lynn Reeves’ class, got students thinking about found materials in three-dimensional art forms.

“We looked at ideas of material culture as an umbrella theme and discussed our relationship to ‘stuff’ and the systems – political, social and economic – that surround that relationship,” explains Kerri-Lynn.
Leanne Olson, who is also the former Edmonton Waste Management (EWM) artist in residence brought a familiarity with the facility and her experience creating within the space, says Kerri-Lynn.

“It was a really rich experience, and I hope students were inspired by the breadth of potential for how 3D art forms can address timely topics, and that they consider their own values around consumption and production.”

Students followed up the experience at EWM with tour of Olson’s exhibition at the MAG led by curator Carolyn Jervis, and were encouraged to mine their own lives for materials to use in their final class project.

Fine Art student Gracie Safranovich did just that, using found materials to create a mini tumble composter that accepted discarded items on one side and transformed them into more useful items on the other. The project, she says, allowed her to focus on reducing and reusing – the two Rs that get far less airtime than their more popular cousin, recycling.

“I heard a lot about composting on the tour, and this project was a way to focus on the 22 per cent of our trash that is food waste – something most people could easily deal with at home rather than having a truck come once a week to collect it,” she says.



Exhibition takes a fresh look at decay

Leanne Olson digs into what we discard in Mitchell Art Gallery exhibition.

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