Sunday, September 22, 2013

Michael Asbill's "Raft": From Trash to Treasure

Posted By on Sun, Sep 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM

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One man's trash is another man's treasure, or so the saying goes; and in certain cases, one man's treasure-trash becomes another man's inspiration. While walking along the Hudson River, New York installation artist Michael Asbill witnessed the homes of many fisherman crafted from the abundance of flood debris found on the banks of the water. During his experience, he conceived an artistic revelation that began his newest project "Raft."

Featured in SUNY Ulster's Muroff Kotler Visual Arts Gallery, the exhibition merges deconstructive and reconstructive techniques, creating a unified mishmosh of rubbish, from metal and wood to plastic and cloth. The ending result? An impractical raft-like vessel that evokes visions of shipwreck and decomposition. A clothe mast stands amidst the chaos, strangled in rope as broken and uneven panels of wood extend along the raft's bottom. Beneath the panels, plastic bottles and containers lay trapped. Larger wood panels and scraps of metal and plastic encase the broken vessel, evolving the immovable raft into a decaying ship. A wave made of construction waste holds the piece, adhering it to the confines of the museum. Through his work, Asbill applies emotional intensity and beauty to the grim nature of waste and pollution.

A master of Fine Arts, Asbill has taken on the Hudson Valley art scene by storm. Over his many years of experience, he has maintained relevance in his field, featuring exhibitions since 1987. His recent works include “The Cloud,” an installation compiled of rectangular photographs and interactive computers asymmetrically situated upon a wall of sky and clouds located in New Paltz, “How Much? How Little? The Space to Create,” a collaborative effort with Habitat for Artists for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities 5x5 Temporary Public Art Project in Washington, DC, and “Elevations In Transition” a permanent piece for Oregon City Elevator in Portland, OR.

Asbill's exhibit at SUNY Ulster's Muroff Kotler Visual Gallery will be open on weekdays from 11am to 3pm until September 27. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call (845) 687-5113.

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