Vortex Drawings, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, scheduled February 4, 2017

Eight, 24-inch barrel fans – purchased at Fleet Farm (made in China) – form a 12-foot circle to create an artificial vortex, reliant on electricity. The vortex is capable of tumbling garbage and other debris in a continual eddy for as long as the fans are powered. For an upcoming exhibition at Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis, MN, I am deploying the vortex to create a series of mechanical drawings formed by the wind interacting with anthropogenic, industrial waste (man-made pollutants).

This work is a response to natural vortices such as dust devils that occur in the desert and prairie, wind eddies that form between skyscrapers in city centers. At the other end of the nature-industry spectrum, it recalls the Pacific trash vortex. These vortices bring together matter of various sorts, without differentiating trash from mineral, toxic from organic. One also sees less circular movement of this material in space, as beer cans, plastic bottles, plastic bags, tumbleweeds, and natural particulates blow across highways, are massed, trapped, and writhing in trees, on fences, and in gutters and street drains.