Jane Derby’s exploration of the aesthetic qualities and thematic possibilities of recycled materials may sometimes suggest an apocalyptic feel, while at the same time suggesting the possibility of a new future. Making art out of this material, she calls us to look again at what we discard so easily. Based in Kingston, Derby’s works take their inspiration from landscapes of eastern Ontario.
My work is an exploration of the aesthetic qualities and thematic possibilities of recycled materials. My recent work is a series of landscapes centering around a sense of loss. These are composed of narrow plywood panels with nails and household cans, rusted and shredded to simulate the variety of surfaces in a landscape made up of grasses, earth, water and rock. The colour is produced by a combination of automotive paints and chemical patinas, the pieces distressed to reveal the original shine of the tin underneath. The somber tones serve as a memento mori to our wetlands, a vital part of our eco system that continues to disappear at the rate of 1000 hectares per year.
The recycled cans, rusted and corroded through patinas, lend themselves to an implied critique of our current environmental practices. Trash is the raw material of the future, and the role of the artist may be to lead the way in the creative exploitation of this resource.