November 1 – November 25, 2018
Convenience Store - Works by Sally Warren
Nov. 1 - Nov. 25 – Convenience Store - Works by Sally Warren. Picking up the trash of others at a rural gas stop seemed a small act of salvage that felt good to me in that post-election moment. I collected the consumed and abject, no fragment of litter too small or too dirty. Laid out in the studio, I found a poignancy in the empty wrapper, crinkled from touch, non-biodegradable evidence of our passage.
As I started to work on this show last fall, I was looking for a way to respond to the presidential election. Americans had been delivered an impossible outcome by people who felt overlooked. As a voter who had believed that my political choices are all about taking care of those same people, this was a paradigm shift. I felt angry at the betrayal, but also guilty about my own lack of understanding.
During that time, I made a road trip to see family. On the drive, I stopped for gas at a convenience store, and noticed an unusual amount of litter caught on the adjacent grass. It was hard for me to imagine how so much trash had gotten there. Did people literally walk out of the store, consume their purchases, and drop the wrappers on the ground? Or did they miss the trash can? or perhaps the litter spilled from the dumpster? In any case, the trash lay overlooked, a non-biodegradable record of each person's passing. Without knowing why, I felt drawn to pick up the mess. In my studio I took the stance of an outsider, an archeologist maybe, laying out the fragments in order to understand a strange culture. Some of the photographs I made feel documentary, almost clinical. I wanted to present the evidence without too much interpretation.
As I worked sorting the pieces, they became personal, I started to have favorites, and to appreciate the signs of human touch and their implied stories. In some ways I added my own touch. The trash went from abject scraps to colorful individuals in a composition. I went from disgusted by the waste and the unhealthy choices, to uncomfortably complicit in my attraction to color and sparkle.
We treat our planet as a convenience store, and we are stripping the shelves bare. Politically and personally, where there is money to be made, we turn a blind eye to the consequences. Like the rats in the experiments, we keep going back to the sugar.
The exhibition runs from November 1st through November 25th.
Opening Reception/Gallery Walk from 5:30 - 8:00 pm on Saturday, November 3rd.
Art Talk by Sally Warren on Sunday, November 4th at 1:00 pm.