Tara de la Garza
Medium: Mixed Media & Sculpture
Tara de la Garza is an Irish/Australian artist who has exhibited nationally and internationally with the The Lodge Gallery NYC, San Diego Art Institute, No Longer Empty, Chashama, David & Schweitzer NYC, Figment, MassMOCA and Aggregate Space Gallery SF. Her work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Watson Library. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. Tara studied a BA/Fine Art at Curtin University, Australia.
Recently, Tara de la Garza opened a book on natural history and was confronted by a photo of a decomposing albatross with a stomach full of plastic. It set something off in her: a realization of humankind’s pervasive impact on the planet, even in the earth’s most remote and supposedly pristine corners. At that moment, she decided to align her artmaking with a longstanding interest in conservation and waste management. As archaeologists dig through the particular era called the Anthropocene, de la Garza thinks we will see the impact of what she has termed ‘the Plastocene’.
Her current series of columns and light tubes are reminiscent of core samples and beacons of plastic waste. The columns are made with plastic waste collected in concert with the Surfrider Foundation on Burns Beach SF, Monterey and La Jolla SD. The layered structures represent the earth’s geological stratification over the millennia - the first evidence of humans’ shell middens. It also represents the micro plastics of our era, our reliance on carbon and the possibility of a sustainable future. For the LED lights the artist collected single-use plastic bags from the public and repurposed by them to create lush, colorful light gels. These beacons attract the observer and reveal an accumulation of discarded plastic bags, telling the story of our consumption.