Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Program  at Tides Thoreau Center

by Shireen Afkari

The purpose of the Recology Artist in Residence Program is simple, “Make Art, Not Landfill.” However, landfill turned into art masterpieces are anything but simple. After 25 years of transforming recyclable items into artwork, more than 150 Recology Artists have made a unique presence in the field of recyclable art by being the first in the country to have access to their city’s waste stream. Now the Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Program has received momentous recognition nationally and internationally, including a free exhibition here at Tides’ Thoreau Center, located in San Francisco’s Presidio.

The Thoreau Center exhibition, comprised of the China Brotsky Gallery and the Seed Gallery, is filled with 53 artworks from 43 different Recology artists. In one portion of the Seed Gallery, Kristin Cammermeyer implements her experiences of scavenging through the Public Disposal and Recycling Area into her piece, DOUBLE HOW: Electrical Wire. Made up of mirrors, lights, and various wires, this piece alters perception and creates a sense of disorientation. Daphne Ruff creates a handbag and a pair of high heel shoes out of monopoly money, cardboard, rubber, and steel armature in her piece, Monopoly Purse and Shoes. Fashion and apparel are recurrent themes in Ruff’s work, which has been easily influenced by her and her mother’s bonding over thrift store shopping. On the other side of the Seed Gallery you will find a series of chairs designed by the artists during their residency at Recology. Tamara Albaitis uses raw radio speaker cones and yards audio wires mantled together projecting unique auditory experiences, such as sounds from her own heartbeat.

The works of art by these artists are included in the Tides’ Thoreau Center, along with work by a handful of other Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Program artists. As one might expect, much of the artwork is about the abundant, diverse materials themselves, their history, and their possibilities. It is fitting to hold this exhibition at the Tides Thoreau Center for Sustainability, as the Recology Artist in Residence Program shares the Center’s dedication to the preservation of the environment and creation of a sustainable world. Likewise, San Francisco has set the ambitious goal of achieving Zero Waste by 2020. As we witness environmental disasters and the squandering of our natural resources, we can take some control by working to achieve our city’s goal and inspire other communities to do the same. This art exhibit is Tides’ effort to promote our social impact vision to accelerate towards a world of shared prosperity and social justice, specifically emphasizing our movement towards a sustainable environment.

Join us at the Tides Thoreau Center for Sustainability exhibition until September 10, 2015. The gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Admission is free and open to the public, all ages are welcome.