Exploring our local environment through artistic innovation.

Leftover copper from a refrigeration manufacturing plant near Kingston and plaster lath salvaged from old homes provide inspiration for local artist Jane Derby.  By using a variety of techniques to creatively repurpose discarded materials, Derby opens up the possibility of rethinking our relationship to trash and poses the question, What is beautiful?

Given our current environmental crisis, Derby’s work feels both timely and prescient.  It is no surprise, then, that she has been recognized with a number of prizes and awards, including the Environmental Spirit Award from the Recycling Council of Ontario.

While Derby’s works suggest how reimagining cast-off objects may portend the future, her aim is predominantly aesthetic.  What she is able to produce from these raw materials is exquisite.  Her blend of experimental, yet exacting, technique yields energetic and enlightened landscapes; upending all expectation.

As Derby explains, “Most recently, the result has been a series of bas relief landscapes made from household cans. I cut and shred these, nailing the pieces to plywood, simulating the grasses, earth and water that make up the textural beauty of wetlands of Eastern Ontario. The recycled cans, rusted and corroded through patinas, lend themselves to an implied critique of our current environmental practices, a reminder that two thirds of the original wetlands have been lost.”

The exhibit combines the refined practice Derby has been exploring since graduating from OCAD, with the new element of locally sourced copper.  The reclamation of Kingston’s very own industrial waste presents Derby with the opportunity to demonstrate how we might all take part in re-envisioning our future.

Gouging, Nailing, Cutting, Scraping & Painting will be on exhibit at Studio 22, located at 320 King Street East, Kingston from May 30-July 1.

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