Ben Garthus; Greg Priglmeier: Background Noise

Local artist Ben Garthus, like many conscientious people making a living in a capitalist society, has struggled with morals and how he puts food on the table. He has worked as a food-packaging designer for major American corporations, which he says was great because it allowed him to be creative as an artist, but it also contributed to vast amounts of waste through over-packaging. Now Garthus uses art to explore his professional dilemma, and further studies the connection between our things and ourselves. His pieces include one titled Paper Trail, which displays hundreds of Garthus's personal receipts hanging like streamers off the wall (you can see that he likes Target and Chipotle, and saw The Simpsons Movie), and a wall covered with junk mail. Garthus forces you to look at consumer products in a new way with Plastic Casts on Plastic Sheeting, which consists of white plastic molds, the kind that various everyday things come packaged in. The molds are sometimes hard to recognize at first glance; the bottom of a 20-ounce pop bottle, for instance, looks sort of like a flower, while other molds are unrecognizable. Along with Garthus's consumer art, "Background Noise" will feature the oil-on-panel paintings of Greg Priglmeier.
May 3-31, 2008

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