Mike Perry, Alexander Duncan
18th July – 2nd October 2016
Open 9am-5pm. Mondays to Saturdays.
Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Llanbedrog, Pwllheli, LL53 7TT, Wales
At first glance, this large white object, entitled Pecked Foam, could be a slab of metamorphic rock. The texture and markings resembling the patina of white alabaster marble. But closer inspection reveals a featherlight battered piece of polyurethane, more commonly know as foam, perhaps a degraded piece of protective packaging that has floated in on the tide at Porth Ceiriad on the Llŷn Peninsula, North Wales.
But artist Mike Perry is not just interested in this object’s strange materiality or it’s monochromatic tones. He is also interested in it’s meaning beyond it’s sculptural presence, that is the environmental story it may be telling us. Further examination of the lesions and cracks in the foam indicate that the markings have been made by an animal, probably a seagull scratching around for food. For Perry, these markings are a metaphor for the plight of our seabird population, which according to recent studies has declined by over 70% in British waters since the 1960s as a result of overfishing and more recently climate change. Perry likens these ‘inscriptions’ to the claw marks made in caves by trapped animals and the early writings of our human ancestors. He sees them as a warning to this and future generations of what humans have done to the natural world.
Perry’s highly detailed photographs of plastic pollution are ‘micro-landscapes’. Landscapes that document both man’s impact on nature and nature’s impact on the man-made. When geologists look back at this epoch in a thousand years from now they will probably refer to it as the ‘Age of Plastic’.