There is no doubt that thousands of years from now, archaeologists will dig up fossilized bones of humans and animals entwined with plastic, but you don’t have to wait thousands of years to see this. Just go to South Bay Contemporary SoLA before October 27. There you’ll find the latest works from artist Tracey Weiss.
Weiss is a ceramics instructor, but in the past few years, her own works have revolved around discarded plastic. Her latest body of work is a logical progression that combines ceramics and plastic. While many artists have made works with discarded plastic, most of these works are only reflections of the current plastic dilemma. Weiss’s sculptures of ceramic bones, fossils, and plastic are a vision of what the future holds. Her bones and fossils don’t look exactly like real animal or human bones and fossils. They have an uncanny resemblance, as if they’ve been mutated and evolved.
Humans once used animal bones to make a myriad of things ranging from tools to toys. Then in 1907 Leo Hendrik Baekeland created the first plastic, a new material that contained no molecules found in nature. It replaced bones and ivory and may have saved many animals from extinction. Now, plastic can be found almost everywhere in nature. Seeing Weiss’s plastic entwined bones, we can’t help but wonder if nature is going to assimilate this foreign material in some perverse way. Will we see animals that are some sort of plastic hybrid? How will plastic affect our bodies? Weiss’s sculptures are like fossil records from the future that give us a glimpse of how life on earth may end up.