Art, Upcycling
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Visual Artist: Jane Theau Re-imagines Rubbish

Tethered series of artworks by Jane Theau

Some things are infinitely better when seen in person and Sydney-based artist Jane Theau’s latest exhibition, Sunbaking in Oslo, is one of those things. Focusing on  ‘consumption and the unsustainability of economic growth’, Jane creates thought-provoking art using collected rubbish with a dash of humour to make us consider the impact we are having on the environment.

Says Jane: ‘The more we produce and consume, the more the climate is in crisis. We need to shop less, or we will soon be sunbaking in Oslo’.

And photographs just don’t do her work justice.

While the pieces in her Tethered series are created from only thread, wire and tartalan – a type of muslin used to wipe ink from printing plates which she collects from the garbage bins of the print room in Sydney’s College of Fine Arts – they are far more complex, powerful and fascinating to both make and experience.  Paper-thin but strong, the tartalan figures hang from the ceiling by fishing wire and when lit create shadows on the wall. They are life-like, life-size and represent, says Jane, ‘ a tableau of one of our main sources of contemporary entertainment – a trip to the mall’.

'The Shoppers' part of Jane Theau's 'Tethered' series.

The Shoppers’and others, from the Tethered series.

'Gran' by Jane Theau

Gran from the Tethered series.

Tethered series by Jane Theau

Framed pieces from the Tethered series

From the 'Tethered' series by Jane Theau

Then there’s The Embroideries, handkerchiefs and doilies found in op shops and markets in Australia and France onto which Jane machine embroiders poignant writings, re-writings and quotes. She told me she could have sold her All Ord’s Prayer a thousand times over as popular as it was. You only have to read it to see why.

'All Ord's Prayer' by Jane Theau , part of The Embroideries

All Ord’s Prayer by Jane Theau

All Ord's Prayer by Jane Theau

Shocked by how the flesh-footed Shearwater bird feeds its young plastic from the sea thinking it is fish which causes them to die of starvation, Jane has created the sculpture Fate of the Shearwater to highlight their plight. It is constructed from Shearwater bones found on the New South Wales South Coast and plastic pieces taken from the carcasses of flesh-footed Shearwater chicks on Lord Howe Island by researcher Dr. Jennifer Laverty.

The Fate of the Shearwater installation by Jane Theau

The Fate of the Shearwater sculpture by Jane Theau

The Glass and Glasses Collection features collected antique spectacles, broken wine glasses, guitar strings, broken wine glasses and scientific glassware to make us think about our choices and see their effects.

Light Perception by Jane Theau

Light Perception by Jane Theau

An finally, her  dystopian city made from collected unwanted paper and textiles.

Our Dystopia installation by Jane Theau

Our Dystopia installation by Jane Theau

Thanks Jane for allowing me to share your work!

To learn more about Jane and see images of other works, please visit Jane Theau.

Visit the Who'd Have Thought store

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