200,000 Straws That Don't Suck

An element from "Straw Sculpture" by Anette Lusher.

Look at enough art, and you will eventually encounter objects and ideas that beg the question, What is art? Anette Lusher is an artist who creates installations and interactive exhibitions that are playful and thought provoking, not merely obtuse.

Her latest sculptural explorations are an homage to the humble drinking straw, and to recycling as a tenet of modern life. The prototype for Straw Sculpture is notable for its simple use of materials – the straws are held upright in recycled boxes covered with an open mesh that allows some play when the drinking tubes are touched. With the wave of a hand, the mass of siphons forms anemone-like swells, bringing to mind the easy appeal of children’s games such as the yo-yo, or jacks, that were the precursor to tech-savvy video games. Forms within Forms, an installation commissioned by Spaceworks Tacoma for its Artscapes track, is conceived as a free-hanging sculpture constructed of more than 200,000 mesh-supported, multicolor straws. Variations of Forms “could [make] a great project for schools, teaching children to create recycled art. Working with straw art projects can easily be adapted to age levels K-12….from simple forms to large wall pieces,” writes Lusher in her project proposal. She invites the public to lend a hand in preparing those thousands of sipping tubes for mounting on Sunday, July 10, from noon ’til 4 at 910 Broadway.

"Weaver Bird's Nest" by Anette Lusher

“My vision is to bring awareness and attention to recycling through an everyday article, such as a simple drinking straw, which can be transformed into a piece of art. Beauty often lies where one expects it the least,” she explains. Sometimes her work addresses ecological themes in much different form, such as Weaver Bird’s Nest, which appeared in the Heaven and Earth II exhibition last year at Carkeek Park, in Seattle. Inexpensive, beautiful and eco-friendly, Lusher’s straw art takes a fresh tack toward green concerns. Forms within Forms, 910 Broadway, July 15 – October 31, 2011. www.anettelusher. com

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