Valves, ducts, tubes. They can be rugged, mechanical, and nearly indestructible. Or they can be small, detailed, and vulnerable. It depends on where you look: Home Depot or Gray’s Anatomy.
In her latest exhibition, Plastiglomerate, artist Linda Leslie Brown takes inspiration from the Anthropocene with collaged corporeal sculptures. The exhibition’s namesake is a type of stone that comprises sediment bound by molten plastic. Plastiglomerate (both the stone and the exhibition) is an elegantly simple display of the human impact on Earth. Brown’s works use an inversion of the plastiglomerate composition, with solid plastic structures emerging from natural materials.
Her use of discarded plastic is a quite literal interpretation of the Great Pacific garbage patch, but the structures’ compositions are intriguingly uncanny. They vaguely resemble the vessels in the human body. Brown’s previous works also have a very distant human feel, aptly described as “transgenic.”
I drew a more abstract interpretation of her sculptures, relating them to human mortality. Human tissue is soft, delicate, and completely at the mercy of death and decomposition. The juxtaposition of plastic with these vital, organic shapes is rather unsettling. It strips the human form to only its functionality. I also drew parallels to stents, which are reinforcing tubes placed in poorly functioning human vessels. Brown’s sculptures can be a dramatic display of Western medicine and the cultural rejection of human death and mortality.
Plastiglomerate is located in the Kingston Gallery at 450 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA. The exhibition is on view october 3-28, 2018.