Trashy (In a good way)

The University of Waterloo Art Gallery has kicked off the second exhibit of Season 5, a double header showing works by Zeke Moores and Kelly Jazvac. Respectively titled <em>Dispose </em>and <em>Anthropophotogenic</em>, the artworks in each are deceptive as they function together in the space: at first glance, the gallery appears to be filled with literal garbage.

The majority of works in <em>Anthropophotogenic</em> use found materials such as plastics and refuse from advertising in assemblage-based abstract sculpture, drawing associations between the materials and their implied original state. A particularly interesting component of the exhibit are the <em>Plastiglomerate Samples</em>, a collection of &nbsp;naturally occurring hybrid stones made from plastic melting into natural sand, coral, and volcanic rock. Plastiglomerate was discovered in a collaboration between Kelly Jazvac, geologist Dr. Patricia Corcoran, and oceanographer Charles Moore.

<em>Anthropophotogenic </em>is the perfect companion to the pieces in <em>Dispose</em>, which occupy the main gallery space. Moores&rsquo; works are utterly convincing replicas of refuse and industrial materials, hand made from bronze and aluminum. His facsimilies expertly mimic the texture of old wood, cardboard boxes, and even a creased blanket strewn about the floor.

&ldquo;I think a lot of what I do is about just pointing out the overlooked things in our urban landscape, things that we don&rsquo;t necessarily take notice of, and trying to highlight those a little bit ... I&rsquo;m trying to, in a way, monumentalize these kind of mundane objects,&rdquo; said Moores.

Moores&rsquo; choice of subject matter and the subsequent double-take reaction his work elicits forces the viewer to reconsider their associations with everyday objects. Both process and value are subject to this recontextualization; the labour-intensive process and materials involved in producing crumpled cardboard boxes from metal invites viewers to weigh the conceptual value of the objects that make up their environment.

&ldquo;I&rsquo;d like for people to see the beauty around them every day. I&rsquo;d like people to think about the possibility of materials and the value of materials, and to start to look at the world around them in a different way. When it comes to the cardboard boxes, I look at them as snowflakes because they&rsquo;re all very beautiful and individual in their own way ... but I never really thought about that until I started making them. Now that I make them it&rsquo;s impossible for me not to see beauty when I walk through an alley or to go to the back of a grocery store...To me it&rsquo;s about really taking the time to see the beauty that you may not have saw before,&rdquo; continued Moores.

Despite exploring the transitionary nature of detritus in a materialistic society, neither collection is overtly didactic; though they deal with byproducts of human activity and how they relate to environment, the works avoid explicit cautionary messages and moral ascriptions. &ldquo;I think environmental concerns are more of an insipid concern, like we know there are things we do daily that are not good for the environment&hellip; Yet we do them anyway, and I&rsquo;m interested in that grey zone,&rdquo; said Jazvac.

<em>Dispose</em> and <em>Anthropophotogenic</em> are on display at UWAG inside East Campus Hall until Dec. 20.