Next we went to Smack Mellon for the artists' reception for two solo exhibitions. The first is Ellen Driscoll's installation FASTFORWARDFOSSIL: Part 2.
Composed of thousands of discarded plastic bottles collected by Ellen Driscoll, FASTFORWARDFOSSIL: Part 2 takes a critical look at the environmental and human damage inflicted by the oil and water industries in the last two centuries on regions as diverse as Nigeria and the United States.
Artist Statement. “This installation is a continuation of a multi-year series which explores the dynamics of resource harvesting and consumption. This part of the series focuses on oil and water. Rising at 5:30 AM, I harvest #2 plastic bottles from the recycling bags put out for collection on the streets of Brooklyn. For one hour, one day at a time, I immerse myself in the tidal wave of plastic that engulfs us by collecting as many bottles as I can carry. The sculptural installation for Smack Mellon comprises 2600 bottles transformed into a 28 foot landscape. Constructed solely of harvested #2 plastic, the sculpture collapses three centuries into a ghostly translucent visual fugue in which a nineteenth century trestle bridge plays host to an eighteenth century water-powered mill which spills a twenty-first century flood from its structure. The flow contains North American, Middle Eastern, and African landmasses (sites of oil harvesting and their consumer destination) buoyed by a sea of plastic water molecules. The piece looks back to eighteenth century American industry powered by water, and forward to the oil refineries of the Niger Delta, site of prolonged guerilla warfare against oil corporations and the source of over fifty percent of crude oil for the United States—the oil that produces the plastic within which our privatized water is currently bought and sold.”
This installation is so gigantic that it was hard to photograph and examine the detail at the same time, so I created a video fly-through so you can experience the piece to approximate my own experience with the piece:
Artist Statement. “The wall drawings in the exhibition are based on a close study of the inner workings of an oil refinery. By using huge shifts of scale between the macro and the micro, they depict a dystopic future based on rampant oil consumption. An oil rig shares the horizon with ocean fires and garbage scows, mega shopping malls are abandoned to spontaneous communities of slums, and a refugee camp is inundated by the waters of a melting glacier. The worlds in the drawings are drained of color, but filled with the flux and spillage of a potentially chaotic future.”
Ellen Driscoll is a sculptor whose work includes FASTFORWARDFOSSIL: Part 1 at Frederieke Taylor Gallery, Revenant and Phantom Limb for Nippon Ginko, Hiroshima, Japan, The Loophole of Retreat at the Whitney Museum, Phillip Morris, As Above, So Below for Grand Central Terminal (a suite of 20 mosaic and glass images for the tunnels at 45th, 47th, and 48th Streets), Catching the Drift, a restroom for the Smith College Museum of Art, and Wingspun for the International Arrivals Terminal at Raleigh-Durham airport. Ms. Driscoll has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bunting Institute at Harvard University, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, the LEF Foundation, and Anonymous Was a Woman. Her work is included in major public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of Art. She is a Professor of Sculpture at Rhode Island School of Design.
You can check out her portfolio at ellendriscoll.net.
13th Annual DUMBO Art Under the Bridge Festival NYC 2009
+ 01: Overview
+ 02: Ruza Bagaric
+ 03: Brooklyn Art Project
+ 04: James Cospito
+ 05: J. F. Bautista
+ 06: Ellen Driscoll
+ 07: Fernando Souto
+ 08: Agata Olek
+ 09: Dean Russo
+ 10: Choichun Leung
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