Japanese-born artist Ai Krasner gives the term “plastic arts” a whole new meaning.
Her latest solo endeavor, Plastic Garden, consists of colorful and thought-provoking pieces composed exclusively by the ubiquitous material.
“I’ve been working with this theme of a new natural material—which is plastic,” she says, inspecting the grounds at TAI Gallery and putting the finishing touches on her show.
“I’m interested in how us modern people sort of use plastic almost like a natural material. We don’t question it; it’s everywhere,” she says, citing everyday examples of her theory—from diapers and pacifiers on babies to packed lunches and IV lines.
Originally an acrylic painter, Krasner was first captivated by plastic when she decided to get to the “core” of her medium. “[Acrylic] is basically [a] petroleum material,” she says.
Her journey resulted in pieces like a three-dimensional block called “Time Capsule,” which showcases childhood toys such as rubber bouncy balls and a My Little Pony peering out of one side.
Other works include the three-installment-strong “Awakening,” which features fake flowers trying to break free from their synthetic surrounding—a concept, she says, that was inspired by Michelangelo.
“It’s sort of ‘Awakening Slave’ struggling to get out from its original forest,” she says, pointing out that she substituted the marble of the Renaissance master’s original work for, as 38-year-old Krasner calls it, “liquid plastic.”
The term, she explains, comes from further wanting to delineate the barriers between natural and man-made components.
The meaning of the word ‘resin,’ as far as I know, is tree sap,” she says. “I find that it defeats its purpose to call it that.”