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U.P. Cycle exhibit turns trash into art

Deborah Prescott | Daily Press Kate Oman, gallery coordinator, explains “Current Rate of Usage,” to fellow artist Diane Kribs-Mays during the U.P. Cycle artist reception Thursday night in the Bonifas Art Center gallery. Oman created the piece after being faced with having to throw out five toner cartridges.

ESCANABA — Upper Peninsula artists and patrons attended a gallery opening reception Thursday night for the U.P. Cycle exhibit, which will continue until Sept. 17 at the William Bonifas Fine Art Center in Escanaba.

Artists 16 and older were asked to be a part of saving the planet one piece of art at a time, by transforming a variety of recycled media. The exhibit provided artists the challenge of looking at items in a different light that may have been trashed. Each piece entered had to have at least 85% recycled materials in it. Delta Wide Recycling, Escanaba Goodwill, and Escanaba St. Vincent de Paul offered materials to the artists.

Juror Brian Kakas previously reviewed artists’ work and, through Bonifas Gallery Coordinator Kate Oman, announced the winners.

“After exploring the exhibit and seeing the caliber of the works, it became apparent to me that there was a need to expand the awards,” said Kakas.

The Juror’s Purchase Award, a new award, was presented to Vicky Shirley for her piece titled “Internet Interruptions.” Shirley’s piece included man-made and natural materials, texture and tone, two-dimensional and three-dimensional materials, and asymmetrical harmony that spoke to Kakas.

An honorable mention went to Larry Godfrey for his sculpture, “Tormented Vietnam Mind: Bent but not Broken.”

“This work contains a strong sense of expression and emotion fully encapsulating the experiences and challenges by this veteran,” said Kakas. “Many thanks to your service and your courage to share with us.”

A second honorable mention went to Oman for her work “Current Rate of Usage”.

“This work is apropos for the current state of our world and the challenges we must navigate to change the error of our ways. In addition to the extraordinary combination of materials redesigned and engineered into this cityscape and necessary conversation,” Kakas said.

First place went to Leonard Fieber and his table titled, “Ant Nest in Butternut;” second place went to Deb Abramson’s “Another Bright Idea;” third place went to Rose Peltier and her piece entitled “Magic Square;” and the “Goodwill Award” went to Nan Hoeting Payne for “Seasons.”

At the end of the exhibit in September, two “People’s Choice” awards will be given out. These are chosen by patrons who visit the gallery and submit their pick for best work.

Oman also participated in the exhibit. Printer toner cartridges, corrugated boxes, birth control pill packs, a dog’s tooth brush, and fast-food restaurant packaging are just a few of the recycled materials Oman used to create her piece. She was inspired to create the piece when she was faced with having to throw away five toner bottles from a printer at work.

Marquette artist Stella Larkin submitted her piece, “Beach Trash Mandala.” A huge circle made of plastic beach trash collected in a 200 foot area on the Marquette beach after a storm Oct. 10, 2018.

“These are some of the items found on the beach in Marquette after a ‘hurricane’,” said Oman, discussing Larkin’s work.

Sponsors of the U.P. Cycle exhibit are Wishful Thinking, Lakestate Industries, Goodwill Industries, Delta Wide Recycling, and Escanaba St. Vincent De Paul.

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