An embodiment of the possibilities of combining unassuming materials with a good dose of resourcefulness, Ann WeberMonumental sculptures find their beginnings in discarded cardboard boxes. The San Pedro, California-based artist has drawn on her training in ceramics to focus on everyday materials, initially inspired by architect Frank Gehry. Cardboard chairs, which transformed heavy utilitarian paper into functional, structurally sound and visually appealing objects. Weber echoed a similar intent when it decided to do away with the inherently cumbersome process and weight of clay in exchange for a lightweight material that could be scaled up.
The artist scours the neighborhoods of Los Angeles in search of boxes, paying special attention to those with painted surfaces; She carefully studies the colors of graphics and texts and integrates them into the overall composition of each work. In the studio, I started by building a production organ with larger pieces of cardboard to create the silhouette. You then apply layers of strips cut from the other boxes and staple them in place in a tight, repeating pattern.
As the figures bulge, bulge, and tower overhead, the artist does not wish to obscure the omnipresent material; Instead, Weber invites the viewer to consider the material in a way they might not otherwise, saying, “Paperboard has taken on a more complex meaning in the 21st century with the hyper-capitalist ubiquity of supercharged materials.” Paper accounts for more than quarter of waste in landfills globally. She continues, “The sculptures can be seen as a critique of contemporary consumer culture, but that is not my only goal.” “I was infused with a psychological component that is not entirely representational or abstract, but something in between.”
Do stories and artists like this interest you? Become a Mega member today and support independent arts publishing for $5 a month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers with a passion for contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, maintain our Interview series, get discounts and early access to limited-edition print issues, and much more. Join now!