Laura Noel

“My photographs, sculptures, and installations examine what it means to be a witness. Usually, an eye witness is understood to be someone who observes a situation or behavior firsthand. The eyewitnesses might be unchanged by what they see, or they might be spurred toward action and intervention. When I began making art, I photographed in the streets, capturing the stories of strangers that unfold in public. Working in this vein, I slipped easily into the role of a witness. In the last few years, I have become interested in making art with common building materials to tell different kinds of stories. Often, the work is about climate change and the shifting relationship between people and the natural world. Factory-made substances such as Styrofoam, Plexiglass, and different types of plastic contain implied meanings. These built-in characteristics and associations bear witness in their ways. Styrofoam is a good example. Styrofoam is cheap, useful, throwaway, harmful to the environment, light, strong, temporary, long-lasting (unless recycled using a special process), ugly, and adaptable. There is an amazing duality of meanings associated with this substance. Styrofoam is also used to make endless varieties of containers that protect other objects, often while they are in transit across long distances. Making art with Styrofoam is a fresh way to look at how individual consumption feeds the environmental crisis, literally carpeting the world in trash. “

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Posted on

February 1, 2023