Gallery from plastic trash

Artists create gallery show from trash

Original Publication: The Astorian
Publication Date: September 30, 2019

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In the right-hand corner of the Astoria Visual Arts gallery, out of an arrangement of abandoned Styrofoam and a jumble of microplastic, tiny green plants grow. They’re surrounded by trash — thick metal rods weave among them, a massive, rotting fishing net hangs from above, a plastic, flesh-colored hand protrudes from below.

But still, they grow.

This assortment of trash and life is artist Jessica Schleif’s “Hope Garden.”

“We are part of nature, and to be able to see nature forging through the cement, the tarmac, the places that we make that are devoid of nature, it gives me hopefulness,” she said. “I wanted to create a small garden within the gallery that spoke to that feeling of hope that I saw.”

Schleif is one of the three artists behind “Fugitive,” a gallery show. The creative process brought Schleif, Dawn Stetzel and Jesse Jones together, and resulted in an art display made entirely of recycled trash found in the natural world.