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Keck’s senior exhibit examines environmental issues

December 2, 2015
By cnp
Posted in Art

Kurstein Keck explores the subjects of over-consumption and pollution in her Senior Art Exhibit, "Always More: An Exploration Into Mass Consumption," which will be on display from Dec. 8-12 in the Stephens Gallery.

There will be a reception to meet the artist from 3-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12 in the gallery, located in the Walton Fine Arts Center.

Keck, an education and art major from Pettigrew, Ark., said the exhibit is her way of representing over-consumption and mass production while addressing some of the underlying causes and effects on humans, animal, and our shared environment.

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Kurstein Keck’s artwork, "Sea Food," will be one of her works on display during her Senior Art Exhibit, scheduled for Dec. 8-12 in the Stephens Gallery.

"I can remember going on drives in the countryside and finding miniature landfills in the middle of the woods," she said. "While on these drives, I didn’t even think about the piles of trash because everyone around me acted as if it was normal. In the rural countryside I explored, people did not seem to care where they discarded their unused or unwanted materials. At the time, the nearest recycle center was an hour drive away, even further in some parts of the mountain. As I have grown, I have gained a new outlook on the disposal of garbage. Through my artwork, I am inviting the viewer to take a step into my mind as I have sculpted, molded, and reused discarded materials and clay into abstract and semi-realistic forms."

Keck said materials and process have been a very big part in the creation and message of her work.

"A large majority is ceramic that includes sculpted, hand-built, and slip-casted forms," she said, "Some slip cast forms have been altered by cutting the casted forms apart and reattaching them to one another. Recycled materials are incorporated into the exhibit in a similar way. The recycled materials have ripped, torn, detached, and then reassembled. The process of creating something new out of something old and abandoned is very vital to the message of the artwork. This process represents mass production, which can lead to a large amount of waste."

Her ceramic piece, "Take Over," is made up of slip-casted forms of different takeout boxes. The clay forms have been dipped in latex paint and assembled on the wall.

"The boxes are an impure symbol of this mass production and use of Styrofoam, so they could not be white," Keck said. "To keep the simplicity of the forms and show their impurity, the boxes were painted a polluted black. The design of the form resembles a spider combined with a climbing vine. The form shows how trash can invade a space."

Her piece titled, "Sea Food," takes inspiration from Chris Jordan’s seagull photographs and images of other sea creatures who have obtained deformities due to polluted water.

"He has several photographs of seagulls who have died due to ingesting floating plastic from the surface of the ocean," Keck said. "The debris consumed by the seagull caused their death. There is a negative effect when trash is left unattended in an animal’s environment. To give eulogy to these creatures, a clay shell of a seagull was created that represents what was left of the seagull in Jordan’s photograph. The seagull is decaying with its innards exposed to the viewer. Instead of showing the reality of a mass of plastic in the bird’s stomach, the anatomy of the bird is made from plastic. As in nature, the plastic becomes part of the bird because there is no way for the trash to escape the body of the bird."