Museum Showcases Art Made of Recycled Materials

Ross Palmer Beecher, 'George Washington,' 2000, wire-stitched metal, paint, wood, glass, found objects.Barbara Barnes Allen, 'Please Write,' 2005, mixed media.Jean Mandeberg, 'Reliable Confection,' 2005, found tin, wood.Dona Anderson, 'Undulations,' 2006, pattern paper over metal armature, polymere.In today's era of heightened environmental awareness, artists are increasingly turning to junk stores, trash bins and surplus outlets to satisfy their urge to create while still caring for the planet.

An exhibition of recycled art will open Aug. 26 and continue through Nov. 4 in the Melvin Henderson-Rubio Gallery of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University. Organized by Director John Olbrantz, the exhibition will feature the work of contemporary artists from Oregon, Washington and Montana who fashion artwork from recycled materials.

"The premise of the exhibition is rooted in history," Olbrantz said. "The tradition of recycling dates back to the 19th century, when American pioneers recycled items instead of discarding them."

The exhibition will feature 72 works in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, jewelry, furniture, textiles and glass. Thirty-six artists will be featured in the show, including Ross Palmer Beecher, who creates traditional quilts from recycled aluminum cans; Gloria Crouse, who makes fanciful clothing from plastic six-pack rings and rip-stop; Ron Ho, who makes jewelry from found objects; David Gilhooly, who creates miniature tableaus from recycled plastic action figures and old puzzles; Katherine Holzknecht, who makes furniture and lamps from old skis; and Mark Smith, who stuffs vinyl forms with recycled clothing.

In conjunction with the exhibition, artist demonstrations and workshops for youths are planned for September and October. Artist demonstrations are scheduled for Sept. 23 and Oct. 21 from noon to 4 p.m. in the galleries. A family activity workshop led by recycling artist and "Dumpster Diving Diva" Diane Kurzyna, whose work is included in the show, is set for Oct. 7 from noon to 4 p.m. in the lobby. Admission to the workshop is free.

The use of everyday objects in art can be traced to American folk art in the 19th and 20th centuries; to the Dada movement in Zurich, Barcelona and New York in the 1910s and early 1920s; and most recently to the work of Alexander Calder, Joseph Cornell, John Chamberlain and Louise Nevelson, among others. With increased environmental concerns in recent years, the use of recycled materials in art has gained new credibility, Olbrantz said.

Recycled Art has been supported in part by grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax Funds and the Oregon Arts Commission.

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is located at 700 State St. (corner of State and Cottage streets) in downtown Salem near the campus of Willamette University. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The galleries are closed Sunday and Monday. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children younger than 12 are admitted free, and Tuesday is an admission-free day. For more information, call (503) 370-6855.