1st Column: Garbage Painting #30, Chapter 5 (detail), 30x40", oil on canvas, 2012;Garbage Painting #11, Chapter 3 (detail), 30x15", oil on canvas, 2009 2nd Column: Artist, KellyAnne Hanrahan, Garbage Painter, 5' 3", organic material, 1972; Garbage Painting #15, Chapter 2, 24 x 18", oil with paper on canvas, 2007 3rd Column: Garbage Painting #22, Chapter 3 (detail), 30x22", oil on canvas, 2010; Garbage Painting #35, Chapter 5 (detail), 24 x 36", oil on canvas, 2012 Bottom: Garbage Painting #17, Chapter 3, 60 x 29", oil on canvas, 2010
"About 20 years ago, I lost a silver charm necklace that I had since I was a child. When I was telling a friend how sad I was to lose it, he told me that just about everything I've ever lost or thrown away is still here - somewhere. That one remark, both comforting and horrifying, has stayed firmly in my head and still shapes the way I think about physical objects.
In the beginning of this series (Chapters 1 and 2), my idea was to depict 2 images of every year of human life: one image of the life, and one of the garbage left by the life. The life, depicted in oil paint; the garbage, a paper sketch affixed to the canvas with oil paint. Each sketch represents something I threw away, but is no doubt still here.
With this piece, the series took a turn (Chapter 3). After just a few years on the planet, the objects that come and go with the body are too numerous to individually portray. The objects became an abstract pile of colorful waste. And instead of focusing on an individual body and the garbage it creates, I began to focus on life events and the garbage, physical and otherwise, they create. My first trip out of the country, my stay in a hospital, my 12 years of Catholic school.
I then widened my perspective even further, abandoning individual body and life. This painting marks the beginning of a focus on humanity and nature (Chapter 4). No longer battling the garbage I've left behind, I've moved on to contemplating the connection a modern human has with the environment in which it lives. An otherwise beautiful landscape ruined by a conspicuous piece of plastic left by a human... or an illustration of just how small and insignificant this modern human life is compared to the alive and growing mess of organic life?
The series branched out again in 2011 with this painting (Chapter 5). Now the scope of evolution is being explored and thrown into piles of old garbage. First, baboons - the old world monkey that reminds me of humans more than even the chimpanzee. And now, modern day chickens - plump and flightless birds domesticated by humans for food and fighting.
With Chapter 6, I'm imagining a world without humans - only their garbage left behind. I'm imagining the plants and animals on the earth repopulating around our garbage, starting with the first multi-cellular life forms on the planet that are still with us today." — KellyAnne Hanrahan, Artist
Brooklyn, New York