Friday, September 9, 2011

PETER HIERS, "Food Chain" & The Carbon Print

Following Marcel Duchamp, many artists in the 21st century are galvanizing interest and enhancing environmental and political awareness by following the creed of so many avant-garde artists: Choose new materials to make art.

This path lends itself to commenting on issues such as disposables, dumps, carbon footprints, air pollution, and so forth.

Peter Hiers displayed his work, "Food Chain," (using vehicle tire rubber), which is about added links in the modern food chain, including transportation, distant food sources, fossil fuel consumption, commercial interests and all the countless miles and gallons of fuel consumed. He is a resident of Pacific Grove, CA, and has been exhibiting in major galleries since 1986.

Why Tire Rubber?

Tire fragments are an ideal metaphor for our times and for the tension between human forces and the natural forces within which we operate. These fragments show engineered textures made by our human ingenuity and also the shredded and ripped textures created when the natural forces of heat, friction, centrifugal force and vapor pressure ultimately overpower our human technological creations. Which powers are greater here?

While gathering rubber by the roadside, the violence of the highways is palpable with the rush of sound and wind blasts from passing trucks and traffic. This experience evokes the metaphorical violence our consumer culture imposes against the natural world, showing a sense of personal vulnerability and pending danger, an unsettling feeling, unwelcome to humans or other creatures.

Like the vehicles which abandon torn tire fragments alongside the highways, our materialist consuming and transportation-dependent society leaves behind a vast array of detritus and pollution, by-products of our ways (i.e. CO2 emissions, contaminated groundwater, etc.) — evidence so common that we often don't even see what we have used up, what we leave behind, nor the implications of our lifestyle.

Another rubber piece:

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