Recycling and reusing art

Kendall College of Art and Design hosts RE- gallery

Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmucki's inging plants entertain in "Plantbot."
Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmucki’s inging plants entertain in “Plantbot.” Photo by: Nick Vander Wulp | Lifestyles Editor

ArtPrize has begun in Grand Rapids, and the Fed Galleries at Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) is hosting a gallery focused on sustainability and reusing materials rather than discarding them.

Michele Bosak, KCAD Curator of Exhibitions, explained in her curator statement that the gallery is meant to “broaden current notions of reclaiming, conserving and sustaining.”

The gallery’s exhibits featured the theme of conservation and reuse in some unique way, by either pointing out how our food has become genetically modified or by making music with junk. None of the works on display in the gallery were by KCAD students but by 11 local and national artists.

Tucked in the corner of the gallery near the entrance is the “Magnetosphere.” It’s one piece made up of multiple objects emitting sound to produce a song when the pieces are activated according to the tempo and notes.

“This piece by Matthew Steinke is all electromagnets that are pulsing through different objects. So we have barrels, keyboards and tin cans that make different sounds,” said KCAD digital illustration senior, Logan Matthew.

The “PlantBot” exhibit, by artists Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmuki, is like walking into a greenhouse with a row of plants that dominates the center of the room. Along the sides are jars with plants and electronics that make the plants sing. On the far end of the room are more plants that sing and dance when a button is pressed.

“The ‘PlantBot’ is a comment on working with nature and technology, and it’s also getting at genetically modified organisms,” Matthew said.

“The exhibit gets at where food is sourced from and that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are something being utilized in our food chain,” said KCAD medical illustration junior, Sarah Gautraud.

Exiting from the dancing plants and back into the corridor there are two exhibits; one on the left and the other on the right. To the right, back toward the entrance is “Artifacts from the Future” and “Binomial Nomenclature” is at the end of the corridor.

On the other side of the hall is a larger room with a large sculpture called “Cumulus” by Daniel Bare; it’s made out of various household objects running from the floor to the ceiling that have been coated in a clay slip.

“That sculpture is actually all recycled Goodwill products that we got since KCAD partnered with them for this exhibit,” Matthew said. “The whole gallery is about reuse, and trying to repurpose things that would typically be wasted.”

“Some students are going to reuse the plaster once it’s taken down for impressions and patterns, so none of it is going to be thrown away but reused,” Gautraud added.

On the south end of the room is a roped off area where artists will be working throughout the week on a project called “Yardage” by artist Mark Rumsey.

“Students from our fashion program are going to make garments out of what they have as to not waste any of the material. They don’t throw away the scraps as they make their pieces,” Gautraud said.

“Everything has a purpose is basically the moral of the story,” Matthew said.