Professor Mary Hafeli and the P+S Collective | Teachers College Columbia University

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Professor Mary Hafeli and the P+S Collective Sculpture Featured in Brooklyn Art Exhibition

The artists, also called the P+S Collective, came together in a graduate studio course entitled, Processes and Structures in the Visual Arts, and are also led by Professor Hafeli.

The sculpture, which was constructed entirely of plastic materials, was one of 105 pieces accepted for the exhibition, and selected from 1,766 submissions overall.

In the artists’ statement, the group explains,

Susan Freinkel writes that plastic bags ‘seem kind of miraculous’—they are light, yet they hold 1000 times their weight. As artists, we are interested in plastic’s singular properties of a different sort: the ways shopping bags and their text and images can be pulled and stretched thin, de-formed and re-messaged to resemble skins covering a surface. Or compressed, wadded, knotted, and woven into dense, trailing suspensions.”

Working with other plastic materials—acrylic and polyurethane glazes—and with a focus on the ubiquitous, plastic shopping bag, we set out to explore distributed authorship and social interaction as viable art production strategies. All decisions around this piece—selection and collection of materials, overall form and construction, interior and exterior surface treatments, color connotations and relationships, configuration and placement of appendages—are the result of divergent, collective experimentation with materials and consensus on ways to move forward with forming and constructing. While shopping bags are symbolic of waste and environmental demise in our consumerist culture, here we reimagine them as ‘vibrant matter’—as agents of aesthetic possibilities and systems and as relational players in Nelson Goodman’s ways of worldmaking.

The P+S Collective have also had their works featured on several occasions in Macy Gallery at Teachers College and at the Hyde Bridge Gallery in Ireland.

Contributing artists for Untitled (Distributed Upcycling of Post-Consumer Plastic Waste), 2016:

Bert Benally, Jung Eun Choi, Tiffany Choi, Ava Cotlowitz, Mary Hafeli, Jessica Jean-Baptiste, Eunji Lee, Dina Lutfi, Joseph Mathews, Rory Parks, Jinling Quan, Priscila Camargo Ramalho, Shakira Soderstrom, Corene Suhr, Gina Tribotti, and Leying Zhang.


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