Concurrent with exasperation over the details of Cambridge’s erstwhile plastic bag ban (progress toward which has been stymied, this time, by a snowstorm cancellation) is a relevant exhibit by Cambridge sculptor Michelle Lougee at Simmons College’s Trustman Gallery. Lougee’s work, much of which is painstakingly forged from plastic bags, is not a tsk-tsk. Instead she fingers a delicate boundary between horror and love. The horror at the enormity of our cumulative acts of ransacking is there for the taking, if one is so inclined. But the work is also a love story, a paean to the organic forms (and vicissitudes) of nature—even as they are refracted through the lens of our plastic addiction.
This exhibit goes beyond some of her other recent collections, however. From the catalogue:
Lougee is also showing a series of drawings, not made with traditional materials but with her signature bags, layering elements like papyrus paper and fabric with the “line” created by stitching. These textural works evoke microscopic structures, suggesting an underlying, unseen world that is bulging with possibilities and life.
To me, the work evokes Alexander Calder and Jean Arp, but is distinctly situated in a 21st century conflict— in a world of “advanced” materials science.