Gallery Stroll – April 2010

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Plastic People from the Plastic World of Derek Dyer

I’ve always said art is where you look for it. In the case of the Utah Arts Alliance’s April show that means finding art in your pre-packaged dinners, plastic grocery bags and the plastic wrap usually reserved for leftovers.  Plastic World is an innovative art installation featuring 100% plastic art by artist Derek Dyer. The show opens April 9 and runs through April 30 at the Utah Arts Alliance Gallery located at 127 South Main Street. The opening reception with the artists takes place April 9 from 6-9 p.m.

Derek Dyer is a well-known artist based in Salt Lake City. Common themes of his work include pieces that play with light and color, integrate technology and are representative of nature. Much of his work is about creating social dialogue and commentary on the world. His Earth People show is currently on display at the Sorenson Unity Center (1383 South 900 West) until April 16.

I went to my interview with Derek Dyer with some preconceived notions.  Since it’s April, or “Earth Month,” could Plastic World be a statement on how much plastic wastes away in landfills or the use of plastic currency in our cashless society, or possibly a reference to body images and perceptions of perfection? Dyer, who runs a plastic recycling plant called Marko Foam,” obtained much of the plastic used for this show from the plant. Dyer maintains a playful approach to this commentary on American life. “Take what you want from it, but it’s not an anti-plastic theme just an experiential installation. The inspiration was not one thing but a lot of small things that add up. Everything I bought recently was wrapped in plastic and usually in several layers.” 

According to the The History of Plastics by Mary Bellis, plastic was first unveiled by Alexander Parkes at the 1862 Great International Exhibition in London. As an organic material that could be molded after heating but retained its shape when it cooled, plastic revolutionized the industrial world and hasn’t lost its position yet. According to Waste Watch, a leading environmental charity dedicated to the reduction, reuse and recycling of household waste, we produce and use 20 times more plastic today than we did 50 years ago.

Plastic World features an installation where the walls, furniture, artwork and even people are made of plastic. The residents of Plastic World aren’t so different from you or me: they include plastic families, plastic lovers, plastic enemies, plastic business people, a plastic dog, they eat plastic food and appreciate plastic art. Few landfills or natural resources were hurt in the creation of this show, 95% of the plastic was recycled.

Gallery Stroll is held the third Friday of every month when galleries stay open late to accommodate us working folk.  I encourage you to attend this critical mass, but art is not something you can pen in, take it in whenever you can.

Support local art—it’s what makes living a little less plastic.

Photos:
Plastic People from the Plastic World of Derek Dyer