In 2005 I started collecting and photographing flotsam from our local beaches. This work began by building clusters of flotsam and making digital photomontages. As this project evolved a formal image-making strategy developed via toying with these beached objects and placing them within layered compositions. The intention: the renewal of this flotsam by displaying it, with all its seasoned attributes, as elegant. The initial conceptual basis was also strengthened by the public awareness of the “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” and the five ocean Gyre issues.
I have always enjoyed playing with the formal principals of art making. This said; it has also been my intention to venture beyond the specific problems of aesthetic resolution. I seek to invoke a lyrical rebirth of this subject matter, restated, cleansed and yet caustic. This artwork is designed to slyly seduce the viewer, with or with out an environmental narrative.
As a devoted beachcomber and lifelong roadside treasure hunter I revere these distressed and decomposing products. These materials are our own footprints to be washed away in time. The weathering forces of nature serve as the ultimate liberator of all manmade materials… this does not come without alterations of risky consequence.
Currently, this theme is being explored in video, installations, mixed media assemblage presentations, and ceramic tile work.
Contact: Lowell Nickel