After having it on my "must see" list for most of the summer, I finally got to the "Reclamation" exhibition at Metro State College of Denver's Center for Visual Art. If you are local, it's on view through August 13th (2011) and worth a visit. If you're farther afield, and are interested in artwork created from reclaimed materials, you may want to explore the work of some these artists online. They are: Sabin Aell, Brian Cavanaugh, Terry Maker, Jon Rietfors, Yumi Janairo Roth, and Ann Weber.
It's a very engaging and impressive exhibition -- fascinating to see what materials each artist employs and to what effect. While the art is wonderful enough from a distance, to truly appreciate its derivation and the creative re-use of materials requires close inspection. (And those kind of photos were unfortunately not allowed.)
Among my favorite pieces were the sculptures by Ann Weber which were fashioned from strips of used cardboard, stapled together, to form organic shapes that often took advantage of the printed graphics and die cut slots/openings of the original boxes. A video about her work is helpful in understanding the her thinking, process, and scale. The large pieces in these photos are 8-12 feet tall.
I was thrilled by the textural wonderment in many of the pieces in the show. Layering of materials becomes very compelling when small bits and pieces are able to take on entirely new forms in combination and through repetition. While I consider these works to be primarily sculpture and assemblage, the thinking behind them certainly was inspiring and has strong parallels to the realm of collage.