• Environmental Art | Nature meets waste

March 24, 2017

At WHT, we love nothing more than artists who can produce sensational bodies of work using naturally occurring materials or even waste products such as plastic bottles, ocean detritus and outmoded CDs as their primary resource. 
American stick work artist Patrick Dougherty studied hospital and health administration before returning to North Carolina University to complete a degree in art history and sculpture. Using carpentry skills, he began exploring tree saplings as a sculptural material. Starting with single trees, his work soon evolved to a monumental scale and over the past 30 years, he has produced more than 250 giant scale artworks and become internationally acclaimed. 
Two beached fish on Botafogo beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil were the marketing tool chosen to promote the UN Conference on Sustainable Development at the Rio+20 in 2012. Made entirely from plastic bottles, the enormous installations were backlit at night to create a vivid light display. Scheduled 20 years on from the original Earth summit in 1992, Rio+20 was "a chance to move away from business-as-usual and to act to end poverty, address environmental destruction and build a bridge to the future." 
Byron Bay environmental artist John Dahlsen is well known to most Australians. While collecting driftwood in Victoria to produce furniture, he returned with a pile of plastic which he began to experiment with. A celebration of colour, he saw the potential of these vibrant pieces to be worked into an assemblage. Initially his friends thought him bizarre. He describes his art as twofold - there's the intense beauty in the way nature smooths off his materials, but this comes with a sadness about what is happening to our environment. Five Totems is made from plastic objects found on Australian beaches and from stainless steel. It is housed at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.
Bruce Monroe is an English artist renowned for large scale light installations, including a large scale work at Uluru. In this artwork, CDSea, he used 600,000m used CDs from all around the world and installed them with the help of family and friends in Long Knoll Field, Wiltshire in 2010. The inspiration came while at Nielson Beach in Sydney, when the shimmering silver of the sea transported him to his father's home in Salcombe, Devon, prompting him to think about connectedness.



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