Sandra Hansen has spent her whole life terrified about becoming a bag lady. Now she must beg for plastic bags for her painting series, Our Exquisite Pollution, which encapsulates the unity of opposites as effervescent bags are layered into sublime abstractions contradicting the repugnant nature of pollution. These bags are formulated into convoluted wave formations and glued to a canvas or clear plastic backing. The prodigious size of each composition relates to the enormity of the dilemma of the vitiation of the planet.
Hansen’s huge plastic bag paintings focus on substantial questions that create uncertainty about our continued precarious existence. By applying abstraction, she investigates the dynamics of landscape, including the manipulation of its effects and the limits of our future based on our assumptions of what landscape means to us. Each artifact censures capitalistic prodigality of essential resources and assays the contradiction of 28 million tons of polyethylene infusing our waterways. Through wafting air and undulating water single use bags disintegrate into micro plastics. When masticated by aquatic vertebrates their carcasses expire. Micro plastics may also be conveyed thousands of miles where they culminate by perpetually roiling in the Pacific gyre or alternative vortexes.
Hansen’s works demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of disregarding chemical and surface contaminants over the latter half of the twentieth and into the twenty-first centuries. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves. Our Exquisite Pollution apprises deponents to envisage the improvidence of the praxis of polyethylene in aggregate. Becoming a bag lady becomes a signifier.
“Always be like a water. Float in the times of pain or dance like waves along the wind which touches its surface.”
― Santosh Kalwarhere.