An Illusionary Soul Comes to Life
J. Fatima Martins
Plastic is a devilish, enchanting and repulsive substance. It is the source material for much of today’s contemporary art. It’s a dichotomous and polarizing material, conjured up by Belgian-American chemist Leo Henricus Baekeland, the inventor of Bakelite.
Synthetic objects are troublesome because they can be extraordinarily beautiful and useful, yet fraught with betrayal because they’ve replaced and displaced beloved warm-blooded materials. Appearing magical and alchemical, appreciated for its versatility, cheap egalitarianism, inherent pleasure and myriad functionality, plastic is also suspicious because it is a dead thing with an illusionary soul.
For “Plastic Imagination,” on view at the Fitchburg Art Museum through January 15, 10 New England regional artists — Lisa Barthelson, Tom Deininger,Dana Filibert, Joseph Fucigna, Lynne Harlow, Niho Kozuru, Margaret Roleke, Dean Snyder, Bill Thompson and Brian Zink — have created works with intense beauty and flares of the sublime. The works are seductive, expressive sculptural forms enticing you into ecstatic entrapment.