INSTALLATIONS

Fertile Remnants 

Fertile Remnants I
Surel's Place Boise, ID
recycled textiles, found objects
2018
Fertile Remnants II
Surel's Place Boise, ID
recycled textiles, found objects
2018

Artist Statement  Fertile Remnants II

Change is an inevitable part of our lives, at best it is challenging and tumultuous and at worst it violent and destructive. We live in a world of sharp contrast, the dichotomy of life and death, repulsion and attraction, decay and fecundity. The beauty of life and creation exists alongside pointless destruction and devastating heartache. To live in this world, we must learn to hold the two simultaneously. Exploration of these dichotomies is a primary source of inspiration for my current body of work. I invite the viewer to explore their visual and emotional responses to what our culture considers undesirable. To question what we see as scary or repulsive.  What do we find pleasant or treasured? What things do we assign value and what things are deemed worthless and disposable?  Where do these feelings or opinions originate?

My art is strongly informed by my non-traditional choice of media. I strive to use as many post-consumer recycled materials as possible, both for the sake of our environment and to honor the innate history and stories attached to pre-owned objects.  I do not know whether an object was treasured or thoughtlessly discarded, and this history is not of importance to me, instead, I look to find value and worthiness in the contents of the discarded both physically and symbolically.

With uncanny serendipity when I arrived in Garden City, the neighborhood was amid the throes of dramatic change.  Vacated old trailers and houses and were days away from demolition. The earth had been scraped bare in preparation for new beginnings. With this timing, I was able to explore the deserted residences getting glimpses of their past lives. I collected artifacts - aka garbage - that I then incorporated into the construction of the Fertile Remnants installation which allows for the art piece to continue to relate to the Garden City environment.  Mimicking the natural process of composting vegetation feeding the new growth, I took discarded Christmas lights, old curtains, and cable wire and allowed them to feed the creation of a new work of art.

 This “green box” had already lived many lives before my introduction to it.   With some research, we discovered it was a 1940s vintage mobile military office. After its honorable military usage, it was discarded in Olympia, WA. Garden City resident Carol B, a long-haul truck driver, adopted it and transported it on a low boy back to Idaho. Then with considerable effort, the “green box” was moved to a location behind Carol B’s home to be used as a garden shed and storage unit for many years. Instead of its life ending in the massive change and subsequent demolition in early spring of 2018 the “green box” was granted a new and exciting life. With the ingenious coordination of Surel’s Place coordinator, Jodi Eichelberger, and land developer, Hannah Bell, this discarded 1940’s military structure made a memorable journey down the Garden City streets to its current location and I was gifted with the opportunity to facilitate its rebirthed into a new life as an art installation.

With my love of all things touched by the ravages of time, when I first saw the “green box” it was already a perfect installation. Its cracked windows, peeling paint, copious duct tape, and invasive ivy were a perfect example of beautiful decay.   It was my objective to honor the inherent beauty already in existence. I chose to create in collaboration with the internal environment allowing my installation to organically evolve informed by its history and evidence of time. Through the creation of this installation, I was able to continue exploring the relationships between decay and fecundity, repulsion and seduction, chaos and order.  The compost of life creates new growth, whether that is the literal forest floor feeding new life or the wounds and scars of human life that bring forth strength and change.  

© 2020 Clarissa Callesen   info@clarissacallesen.com