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ART FROM DETRITUS
 Art from Detritus”, or art from waste, is an exhibition project that was conceived by Nemec, an artist as well as director of Viridian Artists Inc, in 1994 at a National Recycling Coalition convention. Besides demonstrating concern for our environment and creative use of trash, the exhibit also demonstrates ways to use our abundant trash as a solution for the artist unable to afford expensive materials & equipment with which to create. Many of the artists  in these exhibits initially began to work with discarded materials because of their easy availability.

In the more than 20 years since originating the exhibits of art made from trash, the problems of too much trash continue. If your organization would like to sponsor a Detritus exhibition, please contact me at ncognita@earthfire.org, so that we can begin to work together on this ongoing environmental issue.

at VIRIDIANARTISTS                      
548 WEST 28TH STREET between 10th & 11th Ave., NEW YORK, NY, 10001  TEL 212-414-4040      
viridianartistsinc@gmail.com  www.viridianartists.com
"Art from Detritus: Recycling with Imagination"
Curated by Vernita Nemec
January 31- February 18, 2017
Reception: Thursday, February 2, 6-8PM
closing reception & poetry slam last Saturday, February 18, 4-6PM

William Patrick Armstrong * Marcia Bernstein * MJ Bono * May DeViney * Kiffi Diamond * Fred Gutzeit * Kathryn Hart * Ed Herman *
Kathleen King * Bernice Sokol Kramer * Gail Levin * Kazuko Miyamoto * Vernita N'Cognita *  Petronia Paley * Carol Quint *
Elizabeth Rhoades Read * Matakia * d'Ann de Simone * Sara Wiener * Larry Zdeb * Philip Zuchman
         
Chelsea NY: Viridian Artists is pleased to present the exhibit “Art of Detritus: Recycling with Imagination" featuring fine art made primarily from trash. The heart of this exhibit is the message of the three R's: Reduce/Reuse/Recycle and especialy "upcycling" which is the essence of making art from trash. The exhibit will open January 31st and continues through February 18th with a reception Saturday, February 2nd, 6-8pm. There will also be a closing reception/ poetry slam on Saturday, February 18, 4-6PM. Let's talk about trash!

“Art From Detritus” serves to enrich the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people because we all have too much trash. By focusing on recycling or "upcycling" as their method and source for creating, these artists have made their artmaking serve as both a message and inspiration. This exhibit reaches beyond the art world, serving as a message not only about art, but also about recycling for the good of the environment, a goal becoming more and more pressing as we continue to discard packaging and take a new plastic bag each time we buy. The 5 cent charge per plastic bag to be imposed soon will begin to address a small part of this environmental calamity.

Since 1994, the changing group of artists in this exhibit has opened dialogues with viewers about the importance and usefulness of art as something beyond decoration. Artists often cannot afford studio assistants, expensive materials and equipment for art making, but seeing beauty in the discarded, these artists creatively deal with the problem of too much trash by using it to create fascinating and unique art. Artists have been using found objects to make art for eons, but now it has become political.
  .  

 “Art from Detritus”, or art from trash, was first conceived and curated by Vernita Nemec, an artist/ curator in 1994 in Portland Oregon during the annual conference of the National Recycling Coalition (NRC). Presented there in the lobby of a recycled Sears Roebuck building & the corporate head quarters for municipal waste & recycling, the exhibit has re-occurred with funding from the Kauffman Foundation, the Puffin Foundation and  sponsorship by the NRC. The exhibit was  presented in Pittsburgh at the Westinghouse headquarters, the Museum of Arts & Crafts and the AIA; in Kansas City MO at the Linda Hall Library of Science, Rockhurst College & the Writer's Place. Phoenix AZ, Turners Falls MA and NYC have all been Detritus exhibition sites since those early years. In NYC, Detritus exhibits have occurred at the Henry Street Abrams Arts Center, Gallery 450, Synagogue for the Arts, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Farleigh Dickinson University, WAH (Williamsburgh Art Center) and for the third time at Viridian.

It happened again & it was our 20th Anniversary!

Art from Detritus: 20th Anniversary Invitational
Curated by Vernita Nemec
March 3-April 4 , 2015
Reception: Thursday, March 5, 6-8PM
Marcia Bernstein * Taisha Brehaut * Valentina Celada * Ursula Clark * May DeViney * Fred Gutzeit * Sandra Guze * Ed Herman *  Elizabeth Featherstone Hoff * Kathleen King * Bernice Sokol Kramer * Iris Lavy * Lee Lee * Kathy Levine * Lynne Mayocole * Sharon Moodie * Garry Noland * Peggy Noland * Carol Quint * Elizabeth Rhoades Read * Norman Reid * Diane Root * Leonard Rosenfeld * Helaine Soller * Renata Stein * Stephen Soreff * Suprina *Judy Thomas * Sam Weiner * Larry Zdeb * Philip Zuchman

The economy is in trouble & we still have too much garbage!
If you Upcycle trash into art, your art could be part of the solution!!!
It’s happening again! The exhibit “Art of Detritus: Recycling with Imagination" features fine art from cast-off materials created by professional artists from throughout the world. The heart of this exhibit is the message of the three R's: Reduce/Reuse/Recycle & UPCYCLE!

 ;Art from Detritus: 20th Anniversary Invitational

The 2015 Art From Detritus Exhibition is a juried competition for dynamic, inventive and provocative work created from a multitude of materials that would have been discarded INTO OUR ENVIRONMENT if not rescued for artmaking.

The exhibit will occur March 3 - April 4, 2015 at Viridian Artists in Chelsea.   www.viridianartists.com

Take some time to check out the works from 2002, 2003, & 2004 below (images from shows from 2005, 2006, and 2007 are in the works).  Don't hesitate to contact me if you'd like the show brought to your community, are interested in possessing one of the artworks (almost all are for sale) or just want to let me know your reaction.

And if you are an artist who makes art from trash, please email your jpgs along with a bio and sase, and perhaps you will be invited to participate in the next Art from Detritus show.
Email: ncognita@earthfire.org or
Send them by snail mail to me
Bx 1149, NY NY 10013.

Vernita Nemec aka N'Cognita
Artist & curator

BEFORE 2014


A view of Art from Detritus in April 2011 at the Williamsburgh Art & Historical Center. (WAH) ...   
see artists' statements below who participatied in this beautiful show & why they use trash to create art  


Art from Detritus is an exhibit of art to save the planet. How dare I make such a potentially pretentious statement?

My humble answer is that the art shown in these exhibits is made from the stuff we usually throw away or toss on the street without thinking.
Frankly, detritus is just a fancy word for trash. It's all just art from trash.

It's both the beautiful found objects we salvage & those unexpectedly interesting bits of trash that inspire us to recycle (paste, tear, paint and assemble) into something priceless and yet so valuable that we frame it carefully to display proudly on our walls.

And so, these artists are recycling in the biggest sense of that word through their creative approach of using trash, garbage and found objects to make their art. They each are helping to save the planet and perhaps, their efforts will encourage you to think of ways we can leave the earth intact and filled with natural resources for generations to come.

To date there have been 11 exhibits of Art from Detritus (See AFD's vita & history) since 1994.  


Like a bird might collect

Like a bird might collect
shining things for its nest,
I save the detritus of my daily life.
Stuff that is no longer
Useful or of value --
if it ever was.

I see in it a kind of beauty
& want to try
to transform
the lowly into art.
So I fill my space
with collected fragments.

I save envelopes with pretty patterns
broken goblets and dead roses
thinking they hold a story
& if re-arranged & put back
together, will have some strange
indecipherable meaning.

n'cognita, 2002
Click here to look at the Art from Detritus Show that I curated in 2004 at Synagogue for the Arts in New York City.  

Click here to look at the 2003 Art from Detritus Show, held  at John Jay College.

Click here to look at the 2002 show, also at John Jay College.  A review of the show appeared in the summer 2002 issue of Gallery & Studio available free at most NYC galleries.  Click here to see the review. Catalogs from 1994, 1995 & 1996 are still available for $10 including shipping & handling. Send a check to Art from Detritus Bx 1149, NY NY 10013.  

If you are interested in purchasing an artwork from any of the shows, please contact me by emailing ncognita@earthfire.org
 or email me through the "contact" icon above.  I'll let you know which artworks are still available & give you the necessary information for purchasing.

Special thanks to L. Brandon Krall who created the Detritus pages.


Vernita N'Cognita


It's the dawn of a new decade! The economy is in trouble & we still have too much garbage!
Marcia Bernstein * Taisha Brehaut * Valentina Celada * Ursula Clark * May DeViney * Fred Gutzeit Sandra Guze * Ed Herman * Elizabeth Featherstone Hoff * Kathleen King * Bernice Sokol Kramer   Iris Lavy * Lee Lee * Kathy Levine * Lynne Mayocole * Sharon Moodie * Garry Noland * Peggy Noland * Carol Quint * Norman Reid * Diane Root * Leonard Rosenfeld * Helaine Soller * Renata Stein * Stephen Soreff * Suprina *Judy Thomas * Sam Weiner * Larry Zdeb * Philip Zuchman

If you make art from things that would have been thrown away - broken stuff, old stuff, burned stuff, torn stuff transformed into art- 2D & 3D in any media rescued from trash, your art is eligible.  

This show is curated by Vernita Nemec, artist/curator, founder of Art From Detritus and director of Viridian Artists and a member of the Board of Directors of Soho20, both galleries in Chelsea NYC. She conceived the first Detritus Exhibition in 1993 & over the years has received funding from The Puffin Foundation, the Kaufmann Foundation and the National Recycling Coalition. There have been more than a dozen Detritus exhibitions throughout the U.S since.

See past Detritus shows by clicking on the listings at the left.

 Williamsburgh Art & Historical Center (WAH)     135 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211
 Willamsburgh Brooklyn- The Williamsburgh Art & Historical Center (WAH Center) is pleased to present the most exciting and creative solution to too much trash- “Art from Detritus: Upcycling with Imagination”- an exhibition of the art of nearly 60 artists who use trash to make their art and convey the message of the importance of recycling & “upcycling”, curated and conceived by Vernita Nemec. Held most years since 1994, the exhibition extends from April 23 to May 29, 2011 with an opening reception & fashion show Saturday April 23rd 4-6PM at their historic location just over the Williamsburgh Bridge in Brooklyn at 135 Broadway.  

“Art From Detritus: Upcycling with Imagination is a group exhibit of art made from recycled materials and trash. This exhibit serves to “continue the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people” because we all have too much trash. By focusing on recycling as the method and source for creating their art, these artists have made their artmaking serve as both a message and inspiration to the general public and businesses often intimidated by or not interested in fine art. The primary goal of this exhibit is to exhibit art that through its materials and techniques helps our environment. Art made from trash serves to continue awakening an awareness of the importance of recycling and demonstrates how recycling can be done creatively.

 “Art from Detritus” continues the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people. This exhibit serves as a creative reminder that trash can be not only recycled, but also reused, to create beautiful and unique objects of art. All these artists see beauty in the discarded that fills and eventually serves to destroy our environment and realize this is a satisfying and rewarding way to creatively deal with the problem of too much trash.

Since 1994, the changing group of artists in this exhibit has opened dialogues with viewers about the importance and usefulness of art as something beyond decoration.   The current exhibit at the Williamsburgh Art and Historical Center is the 19th realization of the concept. This exhibition gives talented artists who are outside the mainstream and whose artwork does not fit the prevailing fashion, a much-needed opportunity to exhibit. By curatorial choice many of these artists are ”emerging” artists, and still unknown, who continue to make art in which they believe, despite fame & fortune, thus far, eluding them. These artists often cannot afford studio assistants or expensive materials and equipment for art making. All see beauty in the discarded that fills and eventually serves to destroy our environment and realize this is a satisfying and rewarding way to creatively deal with the problem of too much trash.

 “Art from Detritus”, or art from waste, is an exhibition project that was conceived by Nemec, an artist as well as director of Viridian Artists Inc, in 1994 at a National Recycling Coalition convention. Besides demonstrating concern for our environment and creative use of trash, the exhibit also demonstrates ways to use our abundant trash as a solution for the artist unable to afford expensive materials & equipment with which to create. Many of the artists in these exhibits initially began to work with discarded materials because of their easy availability.
That first exhibit happened in Portland Oregon in the lobby of the recycled Sears Roebuck building & corporate head quarters for municipal waste & recycling in Portland who sponsored the reception and donated the site, during the annual conference of the NRC. Since then, the exhibit has occurred every year throughout the US with funding from the Kauffman Foundation and the Puffin Foundation as well as sponsorship by the NRC. In Pittsburgh at five sites including Westinghouse headquarters, the Museum of Arts & Crafts and the ,  Kansas City MO at the Linda Hall Library of Science, Phoenix, Turners Falls MA and NYC have all been Detritus exhibition sites since and in NYC, detritus exhibits have occurred at galleries, colleges and non-profit spaces  including the Henry Street Abrams Arts Center, Gallery 450, Viridian Artists Inc, Synagogue for the Arts, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Farleigh Dickinson University and others.

Vernita Nemec, a.k.a. Vernita N'Cognita, is known in New York City art circles as a visual & performance artist (“The Endless Junkmail Scroll” and “Dress” (of catfood can lids) performed at Dance Theater Workshop (DTW), curator (The Art from Detritus exhibits happening nearly annually since 1994), gallery director (Viridian Artists, NYC) & arts administrator (former Executive Director of Artists Talk on Art & Soho20 Board of Directors).  

This exhibit reaches beyond the art world, serving as a message not only about art but also about recycling for the good of the environment. People who have seen past Detritus exhibits are impressed with both the art and its message but more people must know about it. Help us spread the word!

For more information or images, please contact the curator, Vernita Nemec, at ncognita@earthfire.org or 212 925 4419.

Following are brief descriptions of some of the artists' processes and intentions:

Barbara Lubliner uses plastic bottles to make building-toy-like sculptures of wire frame platonic solids that she re-purposes into playful art, which shifts the focus from environmental blight to creative production.

“For the past ten years, newspaper, magazines and cardboard have been my main materials, though I do scavenge the garbage in my studio building where I often find discarded canvases, styrofoam and wood.” Bernice (Sokol Kramer)

“Still Friend” is a sculpture made out of a wooden chair and chicken bones that depicts our relationship with our skeletal self. Carol Quint

Utilizing cut up CD ROM material, wire, beads, copper, rubber gaskets, glitter and glue, comic writer Connie Perry recently unearthed a collection of her handcrafted jewelry pins.

“I like to rummage and to ruminate, exploring the tensions of fragile, ephemeral forms with containers and associated mental and physical archives/collections.”  Courtney Lee Weida

“All my work uses compositional elements I find in the trash or at estate sales that I mount to a hand-rubbing (with a spoon) that I made from a piece of wood from an old barn.” d'Ann de Simone

 “Art from worthless crap. My work is an explanation of myself.” Gordon Graff

Helen Zajkowski says, “Through my sculptures from found objects, I deconstruct the universal conception of objects and create a new reality that is charged with irony and humor.”

“I like the shapes and texture of found material.  I am inspired to use them in ways that are original and distinctive.” Irene Berkson

"When my memory hurts I start to paint." JAVA, Jorge Valdes
“Throughout my studies in geology, anthropology, Egyptology, environmental sciences and Morphic Resonance, I have sought to expand the artistic statements and formal aspects of my work while always keeping the vision of unifying art and science a primary focus.” Irene Clark

For Irene Christensen the metamorphic wooden boxes are about the merging of electronic age and organic life.
"Kathleen King elevates the humblest bits of plant detritus to iconic status for the viewers' contemplation by reconfiguring these small botanical fragments into metaphorical entities in her assemblages."
Lynne Kroll says: “I am inspired by the mystery, power, beauty and magic of Mother Nature.”

Laura Osterweis "Fish Lips," part of a series of art created from recycled lipstick, encourages the viewer to more closely observe parts of subjects that we see but do not often consciously examine.

"Unwrapping the Past", uses wrappers from candy to recreate childhood memories.  Lynda Andrus
"Scrupulous and delicately structured, Margot Niederland's tableau assemblages conjure fine-spun miniature worlds of enjoyably beautiful free-form dimensional narratives, like still frames in an unknown movie.

May DeViney “I love including detritus and cast-off materials in my art because they provide a small history of their own that I would be unlikely to be able to create from scratch; their presence inspires new directions and paths of thought and reminiscence.”

“My work uses manipulated, re-contextualized images to explore fashion, identity, gender and the body as commodity.”
Moya Devine.

“I can't throw anything away.” N'Cognita

Olivia Beens uses natural material found in rural and urban environments. She creates objects that can be seen as portals to other realms of existence enabling viewers to make spiritual connections.

Pamela Enz creates multi media work with her body, ink, oil, and photos, a lifetime torn and layered into text, her own, or the gift of random lines that continue to haunt and inspire.

My art is about transforming the immaterial spirit-nebula into material form. Philip Zuchman

“The Knight of Tides” is evidence of how I transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.” Roberto De Jesus

“Sewing dryer lint together to make a military uniform exposes the insanity of violence as it deviates forcefully from the warmth of domestic normalcy and comfort.” Susan Ward

“My art in this show takes something that exists in one form and remakes it into another entity.” Stephanie Brody-Lederman

Tyrome Tripoli, Brooklyn based metal sculptor and assemblage artist, creates a large abstract sculpture of an erupting mammary gland made from discarded pink and white plastic objects.

“Creation": “The first people lived beyond the sky because there was no earth but below was an endless sheet of water and then the first thunder clapped and the sky broke open and a strange tree fell down into the water so the Great Turtle, master of all animals said since the tree had earth on its roots the animals should bring up some of the earth, so it could be put on his back to make an island (EARTH).” Ursula Clark

 "Filmmaker and photographer Uzi Parnes was the founder of club Chandalier (sic) and has been creating "photo-chandaliers" since 1984."

For more information or images, please contact the curator, Vernita Nemec, at ncognita@earthfire.org or
at 212 925 4419 & leave a message & contact.

Williamsburgh Art & Historical Center (WAH) 135 Broadway, Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY 11211 USA(718) 486-7372 or (718) 486-6012 • wahcenter@earthlink.net
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