Aurora Robson, whose innovative works made of plastic debris are currently on view at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) in the exhibit “Human Nature Walk,” discusses her artmaking career on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m.
Human Nature Walk
The recipient of BMAC’s inaugural Award for Service to Art & Humanity, Robson has spent more than 20 years creating work that inspires people to think about plastic waste not only as a burden on the planet but also as a reusable resource and a transformative material that can contribute to a greater good. Her intent, she says, is to “take plastic out of the waste stream and turn its longevity into an asset.”
To create each of her intricate sculptures and installations, Robson works with hundreds, even thousands of small pieces of discarded plastic in ways that exploit the material’s indestructibility and flexibility. “Human Nature Walk” takes viewers into a landscape filled with carefully organized colors and a wild variety of shapes and lifelike forms. Navigating the exhibition feels like wandering through a forest, or floating underwater in a tropical sea, yet it also serves as a reminder of the unsustainable situation society has created through the ubiquitous use of plastic.
Robson calls her art practice “a form of serious play” and invites the public to join her in the process by contributing colorful plastic bottle caps to her installations.
“While my work is a call to action to change attitudes toward perceived disposability, it is also a love poem dedicated to the intersection of nature and culture, with the aim of softening the edges between.”Aurora Robson
By enabling viewers to add to her BMAC installation, Robson is “encouraging us to reimagine our relationship with plastic and with each other,” observes curator Katherine Gass Stowe. “She urges us not to throw plastic away, but rather to love it and transform it into an offering to others, a gift.”
Robson was born in Toronto and raised in Hawaii. She studied art history and visual art at Columbia University. Her sculptures have been exhibited and collected internationally, and she has been awarded grants and fellowships from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“Human Nature Walk” is on view through Feb. 11, 2024. It is funded in part by the Wolf Kahn Foundation and subLyme Payments.
Brattleboro Museum & Art Center
Founded in 1972, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. BMAC is open Wednesday-Sunday, 10-4. Admission is free, courtesy of M&T Bank. Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.
BMAC is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Brattleboro Savings & Loan, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, and Whetstone Beer Co.