Portia Munson – Recycling with a Message

10/7/18

From “Reflecting Pool” an installation 2013

When I came across Portia Munson's
work and started reading a 
little bit about it the word
recycling came to mind but that's
not what this is about. Recycling
might be my way of minimizing 
the painful message that is being
brought forth.

Munson works in a variety
of mediums including: installation,
sculpture, painting and 
digital photography. Through her
work she considers carefully
the affects of consumerism and 
artificial things upon the environment, 
and gives particular attention to their 
impact on women. 

Her process as she describes it
includes "collecting objects
and assembling, in essence using
as my resource the refuse of
consumer culture."

From “Pink Project” an installation 2016

In the installation "Pink Project"
a collection of feminine items in
various shades of pink are
arranged in mass on a table. How
she chooses to arrange the found
objects can vary from size, shape
and shade or just be random. One is 
prompted to consider pink in 
connection to femininity and the 
accumulation of things in general.
For me, I questioned why we buy 
this stuff? Is the pink seductive?
Does it tell us something about 
ourselves as women? The sheer mass of it
in the art form makes me feel a bit
of repulsion that I wouldn't ordinarily
experience as these things are
mixed into our culture everywhere
and less noticeable on the shelves.

“Botanicals Below Bryant Park” 2015 installation

Another installation that I found
interesting was the "Botanicals 
Below Bryant Park". This was inspired
by the death of a family member. It was
interesting to read how often 
Munson considers her work meditative.
In this piece she takes flower petals
from her garden and creates circular
images much like mandalas. She transforms 
how the viewer experiences petals and
their color through these arrangements.
For the artist flowers connect to 
healing. Through the installation
she hoped to bring smiles to the
numerous commuters and travelers
that pass through this location
daily while bringing nature into
a place it wouldn't normally be.
 

"Reflecting Pool", referenced
at the top, is another
installation consisting of multiple 
works including digital photography.
As part of the project, an above-ground 
pool was filled with found plastic 
objects in shades of blue. The blue 
being representative of water 
and sky while the reality
of the contents of the pool spoke to 
trash the artist picked up on the roadside,
and in landfills. The surrounding pieces in
the exhibition include carefully 
scanned images of flower petals
sometimes with scanned images of
dead animals. Each piece was constructed
in a mandala like format. One article
made reference to them being like "petal
adorned wildlife shrines."

I have to say I really like Munson's
work and how she's choosing to make
her statement. It is recycling on a 
profound and creative scale that provokes
a recycling of thought on some important
issues. 

This is just a small sample
of her work. Please Google her for 
more information or visit
her website. www.portiamunson.com



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