New art exhibit recycles old banners and city fence signs

A new exhibit is on view at the West Hollywood Library, featuring 21 works by Shelley Heffler, created from recycled vinyl street pole banners and fence graphics.

Beginning in 2017, the City of West Hollywood Arts Division began offering used vinyl to artists to divert the material from landfills.

This used vinyl was once used to display artwork on fences around town or to advertise on street pole banners. the Cultural Plan of the City; the City/Rogue Theater Ensemble’s immersive play, Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta; and past library exhibits including “Prior Pleasures” by Ellen Cantor, “Adelaide Drive” by Don Bachardy and Wayne Shimabukuro, and “In West Hollywood” by Jay Lynn (formerly Ramiro) Gomez and David Feldman.

Artist Shelley Heffler received vinyl from the city’s arts division and it inspired her to create a whole new body of work derived from the cutting, slashing, grinding and weaving of these materials into new forms.This exhibit spans both floors of the West Hollywood Library and is on display until November 29, 2022.

Waste saved

  • Exhibition visible from April 13 to November 29, 2022
  • West Hollywood Library
  • 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.
  • Open during normal library hours

Rescued Refuse is an exhibition of artwork by Shelley Heffler created from recycled vinyl street pole banners and fence graphics. The City of West Hollywood is deeply committed to sustainability and one of its core values ​​is “Responsibility to the Environment”. Sustainability means thinking about our behavior in a holistic, long-term context, recognizing that the choices we make today have a profound effect on our future. Beginning in 2017, the City of West Hollywood Arts Division began offering used vinyl to artists to divert the material from landfills. This used vinyl was once used to display artwork on fences around town or to advertise West Hollywood art events on street pole banners. Artist Shelley Heffler received some of this vinyl from the Arts Division and it inspired her to create a whole new body of work derived from the cutting, cutting, grinding and weaving of these materials into new shapes.

wall hanging

Artist Statement:

My work reflects environmental concerns and addresses what we leave behind on this planet. Our planet is oversaturated with man-made products that cannot be recycled. Among these items are hundreds of vinyl banner ads whose purpose ranges from attracting business, marking celebrations and publicizing events. After use, they are usually thrown away and often end up in landfills. Each banner holds its own cultural history. I try to encapsulate the importance of the human footprint through the transformation of each banner into works of art that reveal a link between consumption and environmental waste. These salvaged billboard vinyls are electronic bulletin boards of corporations, evoking both time and place through a physical presence. Each banner is meticulously cut by hand, breaking up the initial image and disrupting the central intent of the printed information. The colors are sorted and brought together in the form of weaves, collages or three-dimensional wall sculptures. As I construct the matching pieces, the images disintegrate into intricate abstract shapes and intricate color schemes transforming the final piece into a new narrative. I strive to harness the transformative power of art to promote awareness, provoke dialogue and inspire action.

I am also passionate about public art and engagement with the community is a key part of my artistic practice. I have used quilt making to strengthen the identity of diverse communities and bring about social and cultural change. With the quilt projects, I have opened up opportunities to stimulate dialogue and participation especially during the pandemic and will continue this practice in the future. My community projects also contribute to my desire to create awareness of our environment, our cities and our place in the world.

Biography of the artist:

Shelley Heffler is an artist based in Southern California. Heffler’s art practice is influenced by a passion for maps that began as a young girl navigating New York’s subways, NASA’s digital imagery, topography, and a deep concern for interconnectedness. of the world in terms of human values ​​and experiences. In his words, “My sculptures are about confronting the unsettling engagement of human alterations to earth and earth. I am inspired by science and ecological systems that represent an interconnection in the world we share. Heffler taught ceramics and fine arts at the LA Unified School District for more than 25 years and was an adjunct professor at Otis College of Art and Design. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Heffler has created several community programs. Among these are We are at home, a collaborative project where 130 quilt pieces were created by the public and auctioned off to benefit the homeless. This project was exhibited at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, California. Additionally, as part of the Artist-in-Residence at Inglewood’s Rogers Park, she brought the Inglewood community together with her. It takes a village quilt project.


For more information about this exhibit, please contact Mike Che, Arts Coordinator at [email protected]


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Reggie S. Williams