The season of consumption is upon us: We've got a month of hard-core eating and shopping ahead. But as you pick up another carload of plastic crap from Toys "R" Us and swing through the Golden Arches for a "Supersize Me!" special, you might want to pause for a moment in your frenzy of gorging and financial hemorrhage. We're not suggesting you do anything un-American -- such as reflect, repent or subscribe to Simple Livingmagazine -- we merely ask that you consider the humble sacks that contain your burgers, cashmere sweaters and DVDs.
Japanese artist Yuken Teruya has done just that. Making art with everything from shopping bags to french fry sacks, Teruya has found a way to extract a guilt-free beauty from consumer detritus. His exhibition, "Notice Forest," is a not-so-subtle reminder that the sacks crushed on the floorboard of your car were once trees.
Teruya cuts beautiful little silhouettes from the packaging of a Japanese McDonald's Happy Meal sack or a green-and-white bag whose previous raison d'être was housing Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts. In stark contrast to their global consumer source material, the silhouettes depict trees whose shapes are taken from actual trees photographed by Teruya. He carefully reproduces their shapes, delicately cutting out tiny branches from paper sacks, and then hangs the silhouettes in bags' interiors. Teruya places the sacks on their sides so that when you peer into their openings, you view a tiny organic world within. Who knew a bag from the Mickey D's could become an intimate environment?
Teruya re-creates a fragile beauty from the disposable, quotidian objects that trees become after they're chopped down. He’s making an ironic attempt to restore those trees to their former glory. Teruya’s work is a fresh commentary on the beleaguered issue of recycling — you should see the magic he works with toilet-paper tubes.