Trash Art, pick-up art, mislaid art, throw-away art…
Eve Zaremba’s Trash Art Show
November 9-23, 2003
The Geist Gallery,Toronto
“It all started with hubcaps…”—Eve Zaremba
on her collages and constructs [more]
Needless art; Trash art; Left-over art; Detritus art; Fun art…
It all started with hub-caps. By early seventies I had a collection of about 60, with the finest specimens decorating my walls. Over the next few years they disappeared, abandoned in my moves. But collecting is a habit that’s hard to break. I gave up on the unwieldy hub-caps and took up with smaller specimens of found objects…shells, post-cards, War Amps key tags, beer coasters, political buttons, stones, bones, business cards, swizzle sticks, miniature toys, buttons, orphan keys, useless broken pens and tools, thing-ma-jigs, object trouves of all kinds. These everyday items of no importance, which surround us throughout our lives and get discarded unbeknownst. Bits-and-pieces which lurk at the back of drawers, bottoms of bags and pockets; are deposited in trash cans; dropped on sidewalks; discarded and lost. I pick them up, collect and treasure them, then put them in my collages, boxes and constructions. The first collage appeared almost spontaneously as I worked on one of my Helen Keremos mystery novels. I began by gluing a few of my collection of beer coasters onto the back of large calendar pad sitting on my desk. With the addition of clippings and doodles this pad later became the background of one of my early boxes filled with bric-a-brac. By then I was a fully-fledged ‘constructionist’ (my spell-checker accepted this word, who am I to balk at it?) That is, I was working standing up at a counter-high bench instead of crouching in a semi-fetal position at a computer.
Ah, the relief, both physical and mental from the struggle to write. To be a writer it is necessary to write. It is unavoidable. So after spending hours and hours in solitude writing, it is nice to take a break. Thus writers talk on the phone, make coffee, do the laundry, take the dog for a walk, even read other writers’ work – all good things – rather than sit down and do their job. I have found that sticking colourful clippings onto illustration boards and attaching to them useless objects of dubious provenance fulfils this function better than more traditional systems. Away from the tyranny of words, it prods the visual imagination.
The process of construction is peculiarly similar to writing detective fiction. Neither is considered ‘serious’ work. Both require constantly making small decisions…is this the right thing (image/object//word/idea) to go – where? Here? How? Why? Which way is up? Dealing with a host of incongruities, similarities, banalities and other ‘ities’. Inevitably making patterns. Deciding, inserting, discarding. Hoping for a visit from serendipity.
Making these pieces is a puzzle to be solved, a game to play.