Artist in Residence: Yevgeniya Kaganovich

October 28, 2012 - October 28, 2013


October 28, 2012 - October 2, 2016

Yevgeniya Kaganovich conceived of grow as a series of durational installations in public buildings throughout the Milwaukee area. At each location, a system of interconnected plant-like forms, simulating a self-propagating organism in multiple stages of development, would grow over time. These systems are created from a singular material, recycled plastic bags, and their growth rate is determined by the number of bags accumulated in an official recycling bin at each site. The layers of plastic are fused to create a surface similar to leather or skin, molded into plant-like volumes, connected with plastic bag “thread” and stuffed with more bags. Like weeds, these organisms will grow into unused and overlooked spaces: niches, stairwells, and other peripheral and forgotten architectural elements.

“My goals for grow,” says Kaganovich, “are to transform an artificial manipulated material into a seemingly unchecked, feral, opportunistic growth; to visualize and punctuate reuse by juxtaposing it with slow, methodical, labor-intensive making that plays with control, 'craftiness,' and precision; and to speculate about how artificial lifecycles are sustained.”

The project will launch at Lynden on October 28. The public will be able to discover the plant-like forms in Lynden’s interstitial spaces; they will be able to watch them grow and spread over the period of a year or so; and they will be able to contribute to their growth by dropping off their used plastic bags. Various events are planned throughout the project period: an introductory talk by artist Nathaniel Stern (October 28); a day during which Kaganovich and her assistants will occupy our art studio to demonstrate the processes and techniques used in making grow (November 17); and a hands-on workshop where you will learn to manipulate plastic bags as a raw material and make something to take home (January 20).

After grow launches at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, Kaganovich will plan subsequent “plantings” at public locations throughout Milwaukee. Public involvement will range from contributing plastic bags for specific locations to participating in workshops. At the culmination of the project, all the forms will be transplanted to Lynden, where they will be exhibited as a combined system before they are, again, recycled. The final exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by Jennifer Johung.

About the Artist
Yevgeniya Kaganovich, born in Belarus, is a Milwaukee-based artist, whose hybrid practice encompasses jewelry and metalsmithing, sculpture and installation. She received an MFA from the State University of New York at New Paltz and a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Kaganovich has been exhibiting her work nationally and internationally since 1992. Her work has received a number of awards and has been published widely. Kaganovich is an associate professor in and chair of the Department of Art and Design at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she heads a thriving undergraduate and graduate jewelry and metalsmithing program.

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