Beauty in Trash

In Christine Rose Curry's new show, Plastic Vortex, painted assemblages of recycled plastic challenge us to re-examine our plastic worship before time runs out.


"Plastic Crap Venus" by Christine Rose Curry, 2020

Christine Rose Curry's pieces draw you in with their shiny surfaces, dynamic textures, and vivid colors, not unlike the plastic items that hypnotize us every day. Depicting majestic ocean creatures and recognizable religious figures, the enchanting imagery is evocative of classical paintings and embedded with forks, lids, toys, bubble wrap, and bags. These carefully constructed assemblages come with a warning. According to the World Economic Forum, there will be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans by 2050.


Christine is not only concerned with the wellbeing of our wild spaces but also our urban environment. Outside of the gallery, she enhances public spaces with murals that can be found all along the front range. Each mural addresses the respective location with a sense of joy and pride, leaving a lasting impact on both the artist and the community.


Christine shared her thoughts in an interview.


You have had to collect a lot of plastic waste to create your pieces. What have you learned about the role of plastic in your own life? Has this altered your decisions as a consumer? 


It has made me more aware of the amount of plastic I was throwing away on a daily basis— even as an avid recycler. It has also made me realize that trying to avoid plastic is near impossible. So many products are made of plastic. Even if the product is made of some other material, chances are, it came in some sort of plastic wrapping or packaging. 

As a consumer, I do try and limit the amount of plastic I use and ultimately throw away. Switching to reusable shopping bags and water bottles, for example. While plastic seems unavoidable, I try to buy products made from biodegradable plastic, which is better for the environment. Hopefully, if there’s a bigger demand for biodegradable plastic products & packaging, more companies will provide that option, or switch over completely. 


Many of your plastic-based pieces depict religious iconography and animals. How is our plastic worship impacting animals? 


By overrunning their environment and the food chain. Most of us have seen the pictures of plastic waste floating in the oceans, or an image of an animal eating plastic or tangled up in plastic trash. This is bad enough, but when plastic starts breaking down into microplastics, this is where it becomes a big problem. On the molecular level, it is much harder to clean from the oceans. Many more animals, including humans, end up digesting it, and new evidence is showing that microplastics are even being detected in the atmosphere. 


What role do murals play in public spaces? What do you hope that your murals bring to public spaces? 


I believe that murals are community artworks. Even if only one artist creates the mural, being in a public space, it interacts with the people who pass by it or see it every day. This can be a powerful tool... or weapon? For me, it’s an opportunity to hopefully bring more color, happiness, and pride to a community. There are so many heavy and dark things in humanity. If I can affect a stranger with a mural, I hope it’s in a good, uplifting way. 


Fox Creek Elementary School Mural by Christine Rose Curry

Are any of your murals site-specific? What is your favorite mural location? 


Yes, all the murals, I try to make site-specific. I want to create a form of narrative with the public. When I create the design, I ask myself a list of questions about the projects. One of the first is, where is this mural going? The answer can greatly affect the artwork I create. 


This is a hard question because I feel like each location has been unique, affecting me, and the artwork in a variety of ways. I will say that I have been fortunate to connect, in a good way, with each mural patron, and I have enjoyed every project that I’ve worked on. That being said, I would have to say that Fox Creek Elementary School was the most rewarding to complete. Once the mural was finished, the school had dedicated part of an assembly to the mural. The students asked questions about the mural and had a little presentation where they gave me a thank you card. It was such an honor and an amazing experience!


Plastic Vortex closes September 6.


Where: Edge Gallery, 6851 W. Colfax Ave, Lakewood CO (In Pasternack’s Art Hub)

When: Fri 6 - 10 PM, Sat & Sun 12 - 5 PM

Safety Info: Patrons are expected to wear masks, maintain 6 ft. distances, wash hands, and use hand sanitizer.


Find Christine's murals using a mural map.


Check out Christine's website at christinerosecurry.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


"Nautilus Polypropylene" by Christine Rose Curry, 2020

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