GLEAN 2014 Exhibition Opening!

The Exhibition Opening is almost here!

Come be one of the first to witness the transformation of “dump” to art.

After 5 months of being challenged by the arbitrary and capricious materials gleaned from the hefty piles of consumer discards, the artists are ready to share the results of their struggles, ruminations and creative insight.

Enticing food, wine & beer, piquant company, rarefied artworks.

Friday, August 8th, 6:00 – 9:00 pm                                         Disjecta Gallery, 8371 N. Interstate Ave.      GLEAN postcard fb


One of the types of items that turns up pretty often is something I have begun referring to as “Old Man Time Capsules”. Time capsules are jars or old coffee cans filled up to the brim with odd hardware and small tools. They are almost always left behind in a particular kind of pile that includes mens shoes and shirts.

Here’s a sample of what’s usually inside:


They are useful, but also useless. They are filled with functioning things that are so disorganized that their function is rendered irrelevant.

I love collecting them.

Recently, I realized that I could use the railroad tracks directly behind my studio to flatten them into much more useless, but much more interesting objects. On the first day that my summer helper Ross showed up in Portland, he immediately started helping with my new smashing game.


Here’s a photo Ross took of some hardware waiting for the train.


A close up of the transformation.IMG_3144


The first round of flattening.IMG_3183 Second Round of flattening.IMG_3196I am particularly excited about this project because it combines the peculiar time capsules that I keep stumbling across on their way to the landfill, with the action-packed smashing process that mimics the pressures involves in fossil formation in a much more exciting way.




Before and After




Lawnmowers. (functioning)

Shop vacuums. (functioning)

Weed wackers. (functioning)



There are a few categories of objects that arrive at the transfer station in such quantity and regularity that it never ceases to astound me. Sometimes it seems like there’s a whole mountain of garbage made up only of these repeating components.

Their constant presence amazed me at first, but I quickly became sort of immune to the sight of stacks of them. They became as invisible to me as the endless piles of old roofing and drywall.

But then I decided to buy a new refrigerator for my art studio with my first installment of the GLEAN grant money. Good refrigerators are a rare sight at the transfer station, and newer refrigerators are so much more energy efficient than old ones that it seemed worth the money to upgrade.

Now, since I’ve started the GLEAN program, I’ve purchased nothing but food and airplane tickets. No shopping for anything anywhere. So it was a bit of a shock to walk into my local big box construction/home goods retailer and suddenly realize that everything there was practically garbage already.






Everything is so “affordable” and cheaply made that it suddenly became clear why certain categories of things just show up all the time. Things that were once made to last for a lifetime are now simply disposable items. You don’t have to think about the sturdiness or durability of an object that you are contemplating buying if you know it can be so easily replaced.

Frankly, it doesn’t even make sense to fix the cheap BBQ that you bought just a few years ago and probably left out in the rain. Better to end it than mend it, right?