Hidden in Plain Site

New Journeys in Waste

Maria Phillips returns to Bellevue Arts Museum with an exhibition that marks a new direction for artist. In contrast to her metalwork, Hidden in Plain Sight presents work made from recycled materials, inspired by a five-month residency at Recology’s material recovery facility in Seattle. She exhibition will run through March 8, 2020.

Recycling has become a daily routine for many of us in modern Western societies, yet the origin and future of these materials is far more complex than we might realize. Once recycled, items begin a new journey, either as commodity material or waste destined for the landfill. Materials that can be given a new life are sorted, baled, and sold to the highest bidder.

What remains is contaminated material, or for a myriad of reasons, material unsuitable for processing—all of which will end up in the landfill.

As an Artist-in-Residence at Recology, Phillips intercepted items that would otherwise have gone to the landfill away from their inevitable future. The resulting works are reimagined and re-contextualized items whose next life draws our attention to their fate, sheer quantity, and initial purpose.By focusing on single-use items and objects that have little or no repurposing value, Phillips questions their very necessity. These objects—paper cups, plastic liners, and a variety of packaging materials—surround us like a silent ticking bomb, quiet reminders of the excesses of consumer society and the urgent need for a global response to the ecological situation our societies face.

In an interview with Seattle’s King 5 News, Phillips explains how she collected her own single-use and non-recycable materials. She turned them to be a part of the exhibition. Components to her art include a multitude of plastic and other debris that she collected from beaches around the world. She notes in the interview of “collisions between man made and the natural worlds.” Adding that after collecting the various items it forces her to think about how she modifies how she shops and looks at the different options of how to reuse packaging.

For hours and directions visit https://www.bellevuearts.org.

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