As rapidly as industry produces new technology, artists are quick to capitalize on its creative potential. Since the 1950s the relationship between art and industry has gained momentum, particularly surrounding plastics. Modern Art movements such as Minimalism and Process Art, and historical collaborations between artists and scientists including Experiments in Art and Technology (1967-2001), generated a discourse that embraced, investigated and critiqued the cultural impact of our new synthetic frontier. Plastics can be molded and shaped with seemingly limitless potential; because they are manufactured in vast quantities, at a low cost, for myriad uses, plastics have affected -- or infected -- every aspect of daily life.
More than half a century has passed since synthetic materials inundated our day-to-day. The future lauded by proponents of industrial investment in synthetic technologies is now. As plastic materials create the opportunity and flexibility to manufacture anything, they have also contributed to a breakdown of material differentiation. Everything becomes homogenous; we stop noticing the extent to which we manufacture and use plastics simply because we can. This legacy of early collaboration between the arts and industry continues to provoke material dialog in Angie Seykora's Part to Part exhibition.
Seykora is part of an evolving discourse of recognition and mitigation, questioning how we make sense of our plastic abundance. The Omaha-based artist builds her ongoing language through craft, labor, material, and engages the audience by drawing on collective sense memories. Through the process of disassembling and reassembling -- by hand and not by machine -- Seykora creates the opportunity for discovery and reflection that industry cannot afford. Part to Part erases boundaries between "art," "sculpture," and "craft," while finding variance between the uses and physical properties of common plastics. The artist's process brings clarity to the impact of industry on our collective culture; what may have once seemed like noise in the background comes into full view. By transforming ubiquitous products, Seykora challenges perception, the sustainability of cultural production, and how we place value on the things we keep or choose to part with.
Photos by Dana Damewood
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Omaha-based Angie Seykora received an MFA in Sculpture from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She is a 2016 recipient of the Nebraska Arts Council’s Distinguished Individual Artist Fellowship award. She earned an Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture award from the International Sculpture Center, from which she was selected for the fully funded Art-St-Urban Sculpture Residency in St. Urban, Switzerland. Seykora is currently an instructor of sculpture at Creighton University and participates as an artist mentor for Omaha youth through the Joslyn Art Museum’s Kent Bellows Mentoring Program. She exhibits her work nationally and internationally.
All photos by Dana Damewood.