Poly – Park McArthur

Park McArthur at Chisenhale Gallery_by Andy Keate Park McArthur, Contact V (2016). Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery. Courtesy of the artist and ESSEX STREET, New York and Lars Friedrich, Berlin. Photo: Andy Keate.
Park McArthur, Contact V (2016). Commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery. Courtesy of the artist and ESSEX STREET, New York and Lars Friedrich, Berlin. Photo: Andy Keate.

Materials that possess the prefix of poly are everywhere. Life as we know it would not exist without them. How do these materials impact our environment and how does each poly- respond?

In her first UK solo show Park McArthur demonstrates the affect that our environment can have on plastic materials. Upon entering the gallery space, one of the first things that greets you are three monolithic towers of acoustic polyurethane foam. These black sculptures are made from a material, which is designed to absorb sound. The material will slowly degenerate, reacting to its surroundings as the colour and texture changes over time.

 

Park McArthur, Poly (2016). Installation view, Chisenhale Gallery, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and ESSEX STREET, New York and Lars Friedrich, Berlin. Photo: Andy Keate.
Park McArthur, Poly (2016). Installation view, Chisenhale Gallery, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and ESSEX STREET, New York and Lars Friedrich, Berlin. Photo: Andy Keate.

The second series are large paper works, which also contain a material that responds to the environment within the gallery. McArthur combined a superabsorbent polymer powder with paper pulp, creating a hybrid paper-plastic form. Park McArthur places these works on the wall and on the floor, demonstrating their ability to be both 2D and sculpture.

In the final series, McArthur has packed steel trays full with objects containing plastics, including latex gloves, condoms, dental dams and catheters. These objects, designed to absorb and contain, almost overflow the trays. The works are readymade sculptures, filled with everyday plastics.

Park McArthur, Poly (2016). Installation view, Chisenhale Gallery, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and ESSEX STREET, New York and Lars Friedrich, Berlin. Photo: Andy Keate.
Park McArthur, Poly (2016). Installation view, Chisenhale Gallery, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and ESSEX STREET, New York and Lars Friedrich, Berlin. Photo: Andy Keate.

The works at Chisenhale Gallery reflect the impact that the environment and plastics can have on each other. It also creates a dialogue between our bodies, their uses for plastics, and the sculptural bodies made by plastics. It showcases the absorbent and durable qualities of poly- materials. This exhibition is reminiscent of the Jason Rhoades exhibition I saw at the Baltic center last year. Each gallery was filled to the brim with plastics and everyday items, creating a sensory overload of freakishly tactile objects. Like Rhoades, McArthur demonstrates the extraordinary sculptural possibilities of everyday plastics. Within Park McArthur’s show everything becomes related, from the sculptures to the atmosphere and the gallery floor. Like its name, ‘Poly’, this show has multiple connections and interpretations.

Poly – Park McArthur is at Chisenhale Gallery until 3rd April Chisenhale Gallery 64 Chisenhale Road London E3 5QZ

About Jesc Bunyard

Writer and artist Jesc Bunyard is primarily concerned with modes of spectatorship. Her interests in installation, film, sound and performance span both aspects of her practice. Jesc Bunyard has also written for Hunger Magazine, Rooms Magazine and ArtZip. In her artistic practice, she has shown work at the Whitechapel Gallery, Wysing Arts Center and the ICA.