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Turning Trash Into Treasure

Virtual Exhibit

The Silvery Seas
by Arne Gutmann

Materials: Aluminum cans

Dimensions: 2' wide x 3' high x 1.5" deep


Artist Statement: 

"I have worked on projects using trash before and was excited about this one. This piece saw me wanting to create a wave of sorts to emulate the ocean and its beauty and power. The silver aspects were meant to represent the earth and the sky. The uniformity was done to accentuate the waves near the middle of the piece. 

To me the ocean symbolizes everything that we as humans are. The vastness and beauty culminating to what it is. A sacred source. A necessary requirement for humans. I was pleased to make this piece a reality.

I chose to use beer cans as my medium. I washed and cut the tops and bottoms of the cans in preparation. Then, I washed the inside of the cans and sized them by trimming the unwanted ends. Once the small sheets of aluminum were ready, I straightened them and cut them in to 1 inch by 3 inch strips. I then arranged and glued them to the backboard."

Anenome to Lakes and Oceans
by Cary Lopes

Materials: river floats, sunglasses, swimming goggles, toy- plastic boat, paint. 

Dimensions: 30" wide x 30" high x 9" deep

Artist Statement:

"My piece of art was created from the retrieved commercial items either discarded or lost in lakes. (Beauty and the enemy of the sea)

I used the fishing floats as they reminded me of the beautiful sea anemone that lives beneath the ocean. To add to the variety and dimension I incorporated retrieved pieces of sunglasses to imitate types of coral imbedded into its substrate. The ship wreck is a reminder of some of the lost treasures that still remains under the sea. The colourful watery effects surrounding the ‘flowers of the Ocean’ are reminders of the striking colours, effervescents and reflections that we all love to enjoy so much. And the creatures - just a tiny peek at a bit of whimsy to lighten our mood. (I just couldn’t resist adding this little guy when I came across him)."

Ghost Nets
by Cath Hughes

Materials: Collage, encaustic, beverage cans, aluminum wire on cradled birch panel. 

Dimensions: 30" wide x 40" high x 2" deep


Artist Statement: 


"‘Ghost Nets’ draws a thread between one toxic form of human pollution of our waters, and another, even more egregious form of ocean waste. Submerged aluminum cans are not a benign presence. A plastic product, ’vinylite’ ,was trademarked to coat the interior of the can, whilst toxic inks again coated with plastic are used for the logos on the exterior.


Aluminum cans in the water take approximately 200 years to decompose, whilst the plastic will never leave the water. I developed a technique to turn the cans into string-like lengths and chose to represent ‘ghost nets’ with the bound cords. Ghost nets are abandoned, lost or discarded nets haunting our oceans. Caught on coral reefs or floating free in the ocean, they continue to fulfil their original purpose unchecked, entangling whales, dolphins, turtles, birds and other marine life. Ghost nets and gear make up 46% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. My multi disciplinary art practice may take the form of assemblage, collage or mixed media painting. Much of my work repurposes found objects, materials or images, transforming and creating new meanings from their metamorphosis into artwork. Present throughout is an enquiry into cycles of construction, collapse and reconstruction."

Today's Catch 
by Cori Creed

Materials: Discarded aluminum cans and shotgun shells, beach wood, cotton string, porcelain and clay. 

Dimensions: 36" wide x 66" high x 1' deep at it's thickest point 


Artist Statement:

"Today’s Catch' is an abstraction of organic and inorganic elements that is meant to illustrate the melding of healthy aquatic life with the refuse that we are creating and disposing of irresponsibly. Shot gun shells and aluminum cans that were collected by Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans have been altered to mimic organic patterns and life forms."