Plastic – a product inextricably tied to the manufacturing history of North Central Massachusetts – has many characteristics that make it fantastically unique. This multi-purpose material can be luminous, colorful, lightweight, strong, durable, practical, playful, affordable, and aerodynamic. It can conjure associations with industrial accomplishment, foment feelings of nostalgia, and trigger very real fears about consumption and waste.
FAM’s Fall 2016 exhibition, Plastic Imagination, explores the work of 10 contemporary New England artists who create extraordinary things with all kinds of plastics. Lisa Barthelson, Tom Deininger, Dana Filibert, Joseph Fucigna, Lynne Harlow, Niho Kozuru, Margaret Roleke, Dean Snyder, Bill Thompson, and Brian Zink all find inspiration in the fillers, films and moldable plastics made popular throughout the last century. Some shave, sand, sculpt, and paint different densities of foam. Some play up the translucent or opaque qualities of Plexi or Fiberglass, and some recycle plastic toys, treasures, and trash. Some present readily accessible, everyday plastics as strictly formal studies, while others crave the layers of meaning (social, political, cultural, environmental, and economic) that result from a focus on this ubiquitous and arguably indispensable material.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website