Palace of Fine Arts
Monuments to the Plastocene II
Recently, Tara de la Garza opened a book on natural history and was confronted by a photo of a decomposing albatross with a stomach full of plastic. It set something off in her: a realization of humankind’s pervasive impact on the planet, even in the earth’s most remote and supposedly pristine corners. At that moment, she decided to align her artmaking with a longstanding interest in conservation and waste management. We have termed the human epoch the Anthropocene, but as archeologist dig through this particular era she thinks we will undeniably see the impact of what de la Garza has termed ‘the Plastocene’.
The series of columns and light tubes are reminiscent of core samples and beacons of plastic waste. The columns are made with plastic waste collected in concert with the Surfrider
Foundation on Burns Beach SF, Monterey and La Jolla SD. The layered structures represent the earth’s geological stratifications over the millennia; the first evidence of humans’ shell middens; the microplastics of our era, our reliance on carbon and the possibility of a sustainable future. The LED lights utilize repurposed single-use plastic bags collected from the general public, to create lush, colorful light gels. These beacons draw in the viewer and, on close inspection, reveal an accumulation of discarded plastic bags that tell the story of our consumption.
Tara de la Garza is represented by SFA Projects in NYC and is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Watson Library NYC. She exhibits extensively in the US and Australia.