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Balancing Relations

Updated: Nov 13

Helen O’Shea - Balancing Relations

James Barry Exhibition Centre November 2020,

Balancing Relations is a personal response to encounters with waste plastic.

The exhibition looks at the speculative prospect of what is beyond our vision in the depths of the oceans and uses the transformation of waste plastics to raise themes of environmental, material, and ecological concern.

These intimate creations foreground the mark of the hand using textile sensibilities, while exploring the potential to reuse waste plastics in a contemporary art setting. Driven to disrupt perceptions of waste and expose material potential through subversive aesthetics, O’Shea questions possibilities on end of life issues.

Researching the journey of waste plastics in the ocean brought home the complexity of what is happening in this environment: physical breakdown, absorption of toxins, ingestion, leeching chemicals, bacterial and microbial growth, and transportation of invasive species.

‘Inspired by the volume of plastics in the oceans my imagination has been fueled by the revelation of colonies of microorganisms growing on the gyres of plastic floating there. The idea of inorganic plastics supporting organic life has offered the framework to explore fictional speculations using waste material’


High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) from waste plastic milk bottles is used to create the Scaled pieces.

Image: Filament. 59 x 59 x 53cms. Reused HDPE plastic and pins. Photo by Mike Hannon.


For more images see HDPE photographs and Balancing Relations pages


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© 2018 Helen O'Shea.