Balancing on the spine of a water-soaked log, I crossed over to the western section of the Falls of the Ohio State Park. A gorgeous day with the river high from torrential hurricane remnant thunder storms the valley experienced a couple of days a go. It has been a few weeks since I was last in this section of the park. Everything is green and growing and pressing upon the life around it. This was another productive excursion to the river and I made several site specific works with the plastic I found. I’ve decided to break those posts up into several stories because many of the pictures came out well.
For this piece, I selected an area that I knew would have lots of plastic washed ashore. With the river currently high, the searchable area is constricted by the encroaching water and high-walled riverbank and by dense vegetation. When I unloaded my collecting bags and the contents of a milk crate I pressed into service…this is what I picked up. Interestingly, this collection also includes plastic palettes from rival cola companies. The rest of the best includes plastic containers for petroleum and laundry products. As you can see, most of the labels have come off of the bottles due to river immersion. I picked a place with lots of growing grape vines and set up my latest bottle piece. Here is a quick sequence showing the progress…starting with building a three-tiered structure using local wood and logs I found in place.
There are always surprises in what colors are available in a given area. In this section of the park, black, green, and purple colored plastic was harder to come by. I used five boards, three small logs, and a large log (hidden in the grape vines) to build this three layer structure to hold my found bottles. I worked on this piece and another one I will show later moving back and forth between the hot sunlight of this assemblage and the piece I was making in the cooling shade. Here are a couple more bottle details which I like to show off the color.
Everything about these containers is so highly artificial that they contrast with all the greenery around it. So much thought and effort went into the design of these bottles to make their intended contents as desirable as possible. That part worked because these plastic bottles were consumed in large numbers and many of them found their way carelessly into the Ohio River.
The reality that this was made from discards is balanced by the good cheer I feel from the rainbow-inspired colors arranged on the weathered wood. If I had not put them into this form, they would be nearly invisible plastic units scattered over the land. These bottles are ubiquitous in our lives and even without the labels…we recognize what many of the products were.
This is where I left the latest of the Petroleum Rainbow series…pressed by verdant grapevines and an ever encroaching river. Since I made this piece last week…our area has been buffeted by torrential rains and high winds. It wouldn’t surprise me to see that water now laps at this assemblage’s “feet”. It has been a remarkable week in other ways with the upholding of the Affordable Heath Care Act and making marriage a right for all throughout the land. I hope that these great quality of life decisions we make will keep the state of the environment a high priority too. One last picture before leaving…also taken in the western section of the park….so long from the Falls of the Ohio.