Curator’s Eye: Recycled

Selected by Betsy Fetherston, Director, Fetherston Gallery

Dorothy Rissman is an artist who’s had a long stretch of experimentation with materials; she is constantly in a state of discovery and growth. The subject of her recent work is what is commonly regarded as garbage. Dorothy spent the last year collecting trash on the streets, at construction sites, on beaches and around the city and converting that trash into art. This series includes a jacket carefully constructed from Dick’s Deluxe Burger wrappers; a handwoven quilt made of collected snack pack wrappers; and a coat hand-sewn from a weathered tarp found blowing in the surf near Port Townsend. Through her intimate connection to her surroundings, Dorothy infuses her work with a strong sense of place, as clearly as a landscape painter. These pieces convey poignant messages regarding consumption, carelessness, homelessness and shelter. The work is visually complete, offering a balance of almost unnerving handmade detail and pop art irreverence. — B.F.

Throughout the years, I have tired quickly of specific materials such as paint, clay or photographs. Street trash has allowed me the freedom to ramble among many materials until I am able to identify an artistic vision. Each material reveals its own particular strengths that guide my notions about its optimum use. — D.R.

Explosive, 2007, Fourth of July detritus washed up in Gasworks Park, 24 x 16 inches