Exhibit’s Focus On Bermuda Beach Pollution

April 4, 2013

New York artist Bonnie Holden Monteleone collects digital images of plastic artifacts retrieved from some of the most remote aquatic regions on the planet but the impact of this pollution on Bermuda’s beaches is the centrepiece of her upcoming exhibit.

When these visions of flotsam and jetsam are combined with her own open ocean photography and other artists’ familiar seascapes, Ms Monteleone’s electronic illustrations portray the idea of the ocean’s enduring beauty — even as it is threatened by the human world of disposable products.

Her recent work, titled “What Goes Around, Comes Around,” is on exhibition from Wednesday, April 10, to Friday, May 3, in Beard Building Gallery at the State University of New York in Cortland.

The exhibition title reflects that plastics get lost at sea but then return to us either in food on our dinner plates or as trash on our beaches.

Bonnie Holden Monteleone discusses her work for “What Goes Around, Comes Around”


Ms Monteleone, by commandeering the well-recognised “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” a painting created by Katsushika Hokusai circa 1829-1832, illustrates a very different ocean from what the Japanese artist saw less than 200 years ago.

In the electronic interpretation, the environmental menace of plastics invades the iconic landscape’s stylised waves.

The exhibition indirectly resulted from Ms Monteleone’s research while she was pursuing her master’s degree in liberal studies from University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Working on a thesis titled the “Plastic Ocean Project”, last summer she and other students joined with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and conducted research in an area 30 or 40 miles off the coast of Bermuda, to determine whether the problem that existed in the North Pacific was as prevalent in the Atlantic. Though not as dramatic, the plastic problem was everywhere.

“If you’re going to talk about impact,” she said to a local newspaper at the time, “you should indicate the marine life associated with it. We looked at these marine animals, which look a lot like the plastic we were collecting.

“If marine life is mistaking the plastic for food, it will be consumed,” she went on to say, “and when you consider that the first piece of plastic you ever touched in your life is still around, unless it has been burned, you start to see the scale of the problem.””

Each of the five four- by five-foot panels – depicting the North Atlantic heaving plastics onto Bermuda’s beaches – undergoes metamorphosis away from the original until in the last image the subject is unrecognisable.

“The oceans are downhill from everywhere and the take-away message is we all contribute to this global problem no matter where we live,” Monteleone said.

Fashioned after the touring display of Cleve Jones’ “AIDS Memorial Quilt,” the exhibition with a message is intended to tour across the United States.

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Category: All, Entertainment, Environment

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  1. Elizabeth Gamble says:

    Is there a web site for this subject matter, “what goes around, comes around?” Thank you.