Sublime Waste & Foam Spill

Assorted hand-cut, recycled, Styrofoam clamshell containers and cups, 2011

“The most dazzling example of artistic ingeniousness in terms of medium is the stunning, all- white installation of Eveline Kolijn. Using an exacto knife, she has transformed ordinary Styrofoam containers into delicate and mesmerizingly intricate cut-out patterns that look like lace. But instead of simple decorative designs, the patterns reveal organic forms (e.g. plants, bees), reinforcing the paradox of using a ubiquitous, synthetic material associated with transience, waste, pollution and fossil fuels to conjure up the infinite complexity and fragility of nature.”

Monique Westra, “Pulse: The Alberta Society of Artists at 80 Years”, Galleries West, August 2011

In contemporary thought, Timothy Morton defines interconnectedness in Nature as the Ecological Mesh. My cut-out boxes from Styrofoam are a simile of this mesh and embedded with ecological meaning. The cut-outs form a web, where there is equal value in the void and the remaining grid. Each container has a pattern related to an ecological theme, such as coral, plankton, grasses, woods, carbon dioxide molecules, bacteria and bees.

By constructing organisms from plastic and Styrofoam, which share the same source as petroleum, I connect the consequences of the consumption of fossil fuels in our society with the beauty and fragility of the natural world.

Styrofoam is made from oil through a process of highly complex design to become the container that gets discarded after one fleeting, single use. Styrofoam has such a material endurance that Timothy Morton labelled it a hyperobject that will outlast current social and biological forms.

 “Along global warming, “hyperobjects” will be our lasting legacy. Materials made from humble Styrofoam to terrifying plutonium will far outlast current social and biological forms. We are talking about hundreds and thousands of years.”

This body of work has spawned many other projects, such as Styrofoam sculptures at a larger scale, photopolymer prints using photographs of the styrofoam containers and the Mesh Suites, a related series of linocut-embossings in which the cut-out patterns are translated into print.

“Eveline Kolijn’s latticed Styrofoam containers offer a simple black and white dynamic, but are a beautifully executed and moving appropriation of fast food and excess, implicating anyone indulging in such acts of consumption.”

Dick Averns, The New Alberta Contemporaries, Galleries West, August 2012

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