Sunday, May 27, 2012

Karrie Hovey - Recology Artist in Residence

This past Friday, I had a fun experience exploring Recology's Artist in Residence program at the San Francisco Dump, a program that was/is the first of its kind in the US. In an effort to make the public more aware of recycling and reuse, Recology sponsors 8 artists a year, provides a stipend and work space, and all the found materials anyone could ever want (EVER!).

Karrie Hovey (right) discusses her artwork Crevasse
On this occasion, the tour was loosely related to SFSU Art Department Alumni due to the participation of Karrie Hovey, who is one of the two current artists in residence and had her work, Groundcover, on display in Recology's studio at 503 Tunnel Avenue. The tour was fascinating, as the overwhelming volume of stuff that flows into the SF dump every day makes it difficult to fathom all the related problems and opportunities. I am happy to include some photos of the sculpture garden and works by Karrie and her fellow AIR colleague Beau Buck, but there were many interesting things I was unable to photograph. I was fascinated with the hillside of found statuary, and the bridge overlooking "the pit" where everything going to landfill ends up. As much as San Francisco is diligent about recycling, we were told that a large percentage of of the stuff headed for the landfill in Livermore could actually be recycled, but they have no way to sort it all.

Indigo and Maya, a Saker Falcon
Since I live close to the beach in Pacifica, and spend a lot of time thinking about birds, I was particularly interested in Recology's ongoing effort to deal with the seagulls that flock to the dump (located near the SF bay, close to Candlestick Park) to feed everyday. Seagulls eat plastic, and deposit interesting (to them) but inedible plastic trash back at the beach and in all the neighboring yards. There are actually so many of them that they become a traffic hazard. Recology makes an effort to deal with this problem in a "green" way by employing Armand "Indigo" Redondo of Falcon Air. Indigo comes to the dump every morning when the seagulls are settling in to feed. His border collie and truck encourage the gulls to leave the ground. Then he has 4 falcons that circle and chase the gulls until they decide that they would be more comfortable back at the beach. He feeds the falcons first so that they will not actually be attacking and feeding on the gulls, but it is their natural instinct to circle and dive at them. On the day of the tour, Indigo introduced us to Maya, a young Saker Falcon that he was training. (Article in Marin IJ)

Beau Buck with his bunnies. The
ears of the one he is holding are made
from the feathers of Rosemarie, another of
Indigo's falcons.

Back at the artist's studio, we looked work by Karrie and Beau. Beau's pieces included several bunnies made of found materials (part of an ongoing series), a greenhouse complete with a bench and climbing vines, a teepee, and a series of prints. Karrie is very interested in the environment and her personal relationship with it, and her pieces included Crevasse, a large floor mounted work  made of glass tiles, window panes and vintage maps, Mum made of the pages of books and magazines, and Build, constructed of thin wood strips along the back wall of her gallery. Another work, Tumbleweeds, commented on her personal experience with the wind blowing through the workspace, a sensation that should be familiar to anyone who has ever attended an event at Candlestick Park. Artists are encouraged to apply to the program for the next series.

Since I was out, I zipped over to see Karrie's work at Intersection for the Art's M5 gallery in the old Chronicle building on Mission Street. Broadside Attractions: Vanished Terrains (photos at the link) ended this weekend, but I was glad to see the gorgeous piece that Karrie co-produced Elise Ficarra, commenting on the plight of the endangered Marin White Deer.

 I felt things going full circle while I was at SFMOMA looking at their exhibition The Utopian Impluse: Buckminster Fuller in the Bay Area. His principle of "ephemeralization", which meant in essence "doing more with less," seemed to speak both to Fuller's realization of the limitations of the Earth's resources and to Recology's goal of recycling and reusing every possible resource. On display were many of his drawings, and projects inspired by his ideas.(SFMOMA | SFGate | NYT)

If you can't see the slideshow above, click here to see it on Flickr