Environmental Arts | Green Guide | Salt Lake City Weekly

Environmental Arts 

That art on your wall may be lovely to gaze upon, but how earth-friendly is it?

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As much as art is both a response to and a way of interacting with the environment, artists aren’t always earth-friendly in the materials they use or the way they dispose of them. A number of local artists and exhibitions, however, are starting to find ways of making displays of creativity that don’t have such a big footprint—or brushstroke—on the well-being of the planet.


Plastic Propaganda Poster Project
Laura Sharp Wilson, who curated the PDA Show two years ago at various local galleries, has collected a set of posters by artists—local and international—created in response to our use of plastic and its detrimental effects on the environment. The opening March 27 included a screening of the award-winning documentary Bagit. Through April 23 at Westminster College, 1840 S. 1300 East, 360-349-6973, ThePlasticPropagandaPosterProject.blogspot.com

Red Butte Garden: The Nature of Sustainable Art
Red Butte Garden originally presented this show in 2006, and it came back as an annual event in 2008. Featuring artworks spanning the spectrum of artistic genres, all created from all-natural and recycled materials, this show is the most comprehensive local art exhibit focusing on sustainable works. February, RedButteGarden.org

Renewal: Finding New Life Through Art
Nine local artists used discarded materials as the basis of works of sculptural art that give the objects new life. The history of where these things came from makes a mark on their embarkation into the future. Responses of local writers to the pieces are also included in the show. Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 W. 3100 South, West Valley City, through April 25, http://citywk.ly/HNF48J


Reclaimed Sentiment: "Are You My Mother?"

Phoenix Ostermann: Reclaimed Sentiment
Going by the nom-de-gluestick of Reclaimed Sentiment, Phoenix Ostermann’s work has been called “interventionist” by the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art’s senior curator, Micol Hebron. The collages combine cultural symbols from across the spectrum to make scintillating collisions. She showed her work at Nox Contemporary earlier this year. ReclaimedSentiment.com


Malen Pierson: Metal Artist
Malen Pierson welds together old tools, farm equipment and other scrap metal to make folk-art compositions of birds and animals. The Fontana, Calif., native has settled in the small town of Lewiston, Utah, to work. His highly collectible works are owned by the likes of Robert Redford and Martha Stewart. MalenPierson.com


David Wolfgram: EcoHardwoods
Ogdenite David Wolfgram uses reclaimed wood from trees on their way to the wood chipper, as well as recycled wood that has had a previous life as a useful object, to create furniture and kitchen accessories. The pieces, ranging from rustic cheeseboards to buttery-smooth wooden spoons, have an organic sense of beauty and the mark of an able craftsman. Etsy.com/shop/ecohardwoods

Michael Begue: Wood Artist
Using a wide variety of salvaged and harvested woods, Begue creates decorative as well as utilitarian wood pieces for “everyday use.” His style partakes of a 1970s aesthetic that’s funky and retro-hip. His work can be seen at Coda Gallery in Park City. Coda Gallery, 804 Main, Park City, 435-655-3803, MichaelBegue.com


Frank McEntire: Mixed-Media Artist
Questing after the nature of the spiritual with his works, the former executive director of the Utah Arts Council makes salvaged and found materials a part of his search, whether religious relics or antique gumball machines. Buddhism, Catholicism, Krishna and Mormonism meld together in the world of materials reincarnated. Part of the message of his mixed-media is that the divine can reside anywhere. FrankMcEntire.com

Fred Conlon: Recycled-Metal Artist
Known locally and nationally as a recycled-metal artist, Fred Conlon is a perennial at the Utah Arts Festival, where his booth attracts the fascination of kids and adults alike. Conlon creates whimsical works repurposing industrial and military items into fun items like Army-helmet turtles and “Gnome Be Gones,” both entertaining and arguably also functional. Sugarpost.com


Jodi McRaney Rusho: Recycled-Glass Artist
Jodi McRaney Rusho, glass artist, curates the Nature of Sustainable Art show annually. Her own work uses a variety of glass-art techniques to tell stories with the medium, and she teaches classes on the art form. For Rusho, recycled glass isn’t just a medium; it’s a thing with a past and a story. GlassWithAPast.com

Amber DeBirk: Glass Artist
Using discarded wine, liquor and soda bottles that have been melted down yet retain just enough of their original shape, DeBirk is a fused-glass artist specializing in glass belt buckles, jewelry, recycled bottle platters and mixed-media wall pieces. She also teaches classes in glass art. Facebook.com/UrbanScrap

Lisa Miller: Reclaimed Wreckage
Lisa Miller uses materials like blown bike innertubes to create urban-chic wallets, belts and purses. She’s expanded her line to include fancy bowls made from vinyl records, and scarves made from discarded fringe. Her trendy styles have been featured in publications like Haute Nature and Time Out New York magazine. Etsy.com/shop/ReclaimedWreckage


Stuart & Amy Peterson Batchler: Simple Nature Designs
The Batchlers specialize in crafting homemade jewelry from recycled materials. They also make beeswax candles that include dried flowers, creating something that is not only completely organic, but is also way to take joy in the sheer beauty of nature. All steps along the way to their works’ creation are mindfully sustainable. Etsy.com/shop/simplenaturedesigns

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