A Facet of her work
Louise Paramor’s prize winning Top Shelf, demands interaction. Meandering along a path in the McClelland Sculpture Park, we are suddenly confronted with bold reds, whites and blues on a grand scale – strong plastic containers tightly packed upon a table of gargantuan proportions.
We draw nearer and find ourselves further dwarfed by its scale. The objects arranged above us take on a new significance as they emulate vessels adorning a mammoth altar – an altar dedicated to consumerism. What are these objects that have been elevated to new importance? Why did Louise choose them? Do they deserve to be revered? Why?
Louise sourced and selected huge plastic objects, including chemical transporting containers and water holding containers from East Link. Before gaining a position upon her altar, the containers were carted and thoroughly cleaned, until they were as bright as new.
Questions arose about the durability of the sculpture: the components look solid and strong, but will the plastic become brittle or fade with the passage of nature’s elements and time? These are also symbolic considerations. What is the place of plastic in society – is it a scourge or a blessing?
It has certainly become useful and is woven into our daily existence, but this human convenience has also had a negative impact on the shared environment. How long do our fabricated materials last? When they break down will they be neatly reabsorbed by nature or become the substance of landfill; or maybe they are destined to mar the countryside when they’ve fulfilled their original purpose?
By choosing to use these defunct containers Louise has intervened in their progression through time. Her sculpture is far from landfill. It is alive with recycled purpose and carries a loud message for those who wish to receive it and to ponder as they pass along the path beneath the giant table structure.
We see the ordinary from a new perspective, the huge scale leading us to consider new implications as we observe the balance of geometry, and the simplicity of colour; with tonal variations only created by individually angled rays of light upon the ‘scrubbed to new’ constant colour of the plastic surfaces.
The different colours are illusions. The plastic outers that define the containers, their skins, are really all of the same material and limited colour groups – it is the light in which they are cast that makes them seem different. These differences offer definition, depth and shape. There is a universal relevance.
As we continue along the path, ready to encounter the next new thing, I note that none in our group pause to look back. I wonder if they are indifferent to colour variation in real life – and if they leave their plastics behind with as little thought.
How Louise’s work relates to my arts practice
I like the idea of using recycled material in art. Aside from making it more affordable to create works of art, it is good to view objects with an eye to their unique colour and shape, regardless of how they may have been used by others in the past.
We each bring our own perspective to all we encounter in life. I wish to see how parts may be positioned to fit into a harmonious whole. I am excited by the possibility of second chances, rethinking place and finding opportunities to perform beautiful or useful roles.
‘Love your own work, stick to your guns and ignore dull advice.’ – Louise Paramor