Artist ‘repurposes’ every day materials

By TRISTAN ABBOTT/Montana State News

Local artist Brittany Watkins is using the ordinary to create extraordinary works of art. Watkins, who graduated from Montana State University in 2010 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in sculpture uses ordinary materials and manipulates their meanings and associations in order to help her audience concentrate on the design of her sculptures.

Watkins is bringing together social commentary as well as sustainable art in a beautiful way. She uses recycled plastic bags to create sculptures that both send a message as well as create unique forms. Her “Repurposed” exhibit is currently on display in the ASMSU Exit Gallery in the Montana State University Strand Union Building, and focuses on reused materials and the visuals of white on white sterile images.

The message behind these haunting works conforms to the materials used to build them. According to Watkins, her work plays with “rampant consumerism and mass production.” The message and the medium of her art work seamlessly together, as the multitude of plastic bags she uses represent the spirit of the message she is trying to portray.

“Thousands of hands have used, touched, and thrown away these bags” says Watkins.

While repurposing these bags into a different form, she has changed their image but not their nature. Through her art, everyday materials become more influential and poignant while retaining their past, which is an essential part of their identity.

Watkins has met with quite a bit of success with her art, receiving the 2011 Outstanding Student Achievement Award. She was also published in the October 201 issue of International Sculpture Magazine, and has exhibited her work all over the Northwest. Her work is currently on display at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton New Jersey.

Edited by Riley Pittenger.

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