Nicole Jackson
9/30/10 3:41PM

We live in a culture of disposable consumption, where every trip to the store results not only in an often unnecessary purchase but one carried home in an often unnecessary plastic or paper bag. Some countries, like Ireland, have implemented policies that discourage this by making it a law to charge customers for throwaway shopping bags. As usual with environmental initiatives, the U.S. is sorely behind the times. Artist Nicole Jackson takes full advantage of this situation by using this free material to fashion sculptures such as “Trashing the Trees,” which looks like a cross between a tree and a much more nefarious mushroom cloud. The effect is of a very friendly environmental campaign, one much more focused on finding positive uses for trash than creating awareness about the ills of producing that trash in the first place. As a society, we need both. We’re stuck with all the trash we’ve made and we might as well figure out some means of beautifying it, as Jackson has done—but we’re truly damned if we don’t sort out a way to stop making it in the first place. At that point, artists like Nicole Jackson will need to find new mediums. But anyone who can make trees out of cheap plastic can probably work with just about anything.

—Lori Waxman
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