In a former life, that FedEx container, cereal box and candy wrapper piling up in your recycling bin were parts of trees. The environmental impact of shipping materials is the theme of an exhibit at the Green Gallery at the Scrap Exchange in Durham.
Through March 14, Ben Bruzga's The Nature of Packaging will be on display in the Green Gallery. His paintings, sculptures and drawings reflect on the environmental impacts of shipping materials, many of which derive from trees.
Bruzga's exhibit lines the floors and walls of the space. Cardboard trees, ferns and cacti are decorated with leaves fashioned from Reese's wrappers and oatmeal boxes; parts of old cans are strung together with toothpicks. Flowers made from soda cans and straws are clustered near the trees. Paintings and drawings of landscapes, done on pieces of cardboard, fill the walls. The depicted houses are surrounded by lush forests, and in one painting, a young woman sits alone in a dark green woods with a single flower.
A nonprofit group, the Scrap Exchange promotes environmental awareness, creativity and community through the reuse of materials, including scrap and reusable goods from businesses and industries collected within 100 miles of the store. The store then sells the supplies or uses them in community events and workshops. Last year, The Scrap Exchange collected 30 tons of reusable materials that might otherwise have gone into landfills. The store hosts art exhibits based on the environmental themes of sustainability and conservation.
The next exhibit, which opens March 20, features Barbara Berry, Desire DeLong and Betsy Greer, who will unveil their new collaborative work, Domestic Spaces. The artists will talk about their pieces and their inspiration at a reception that evening from 6 to 9 p.m. The Scrap Exchange is at 548 Foster St. Learn more online at scrapexchange.org or call 688-6960.