Environmental justice and stewardship of the planet are central to my art practice. I reveal the stories embedded in our collective consumption, specifically of single use plastic. Delving into the archaeology of contemporary waste materials. “The works become time capsules, little stories of our consumption.”
The minimalist forms contain a maximalist aesthetic of excess. Textures fashioned from the detritus of our community and molding into concrete cylinders and lights. Influenced by minimalist and constructivist artists such as Dan Flavin, Eva Hesse, Vladmir Tatlin, and contemporary artists Rachel Whiteread and Eva Rothschild. The ‘Monumental’ projects continue a practice of reusing materials and referencing modernist forms.
Recently I opened a book on natural history and was confronted by a photo of a decomposing albatross with a stomach full of plastic. It set something off in me: a final realization of humankind’s impact on the planet, even in the earth’s most remote and supposedly pristine corners. At that moment, I decided to align my artmaking with my longstanding interest in conservation and waste management. That one photo made such an impact on me that I now aspire to create similarly persuasive visual statements in the public sphere. By repurposing plastic waste in my “Monuments to the Plastocene,” I hope my artwork will both increase awareness of our collective problem and encourage viewers to reduce their use of plastics. Although we have termed the human epoch the Anthropocene, I think future archeologists will undeniably also see the impact of our era as the Plastocene.
I want to engage the audience in meaningful ways. How can I encourage people to see something from a different viewpoint? Can I change behavior in some way? I want to elevate the materiality of plastic, to find other uses for plastic that we carelessly throw away, thinking that someone else will take care of the problem. I want to encourage agency and responsibility on an individual level.
Tara de la Garza
Tara de la Garza is an Irish/Australian artist who exhibits with SFA Projects NYC, San Diego Art Institute, No Longer Empty, Chashama, Figment, MassMOCA, Aggregate Space Gallery SF, SF Design Week, The Palace of Fine Art, SF and the Palo Alto Arts Center. Her work is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection at the Watson Library. She is currently in a residency studio program at Cubberley, Palo Alto, CA. Tara studied a BA/Fine Art at Curtin University, Australia. De la Garza has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant through Chashama.
Her curatorial practice includes the popup The Frank, curating @ Spring/Break LA 2020, founding member of No Longer Empty, NYC and running experimental art space, 212 Projects on the Lower East side of NYC.
A recipient of the Art Cake Studio Program, he currently works in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.