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Bart Vargas has been exploring the artistic potential of trash for over a decade now, transforming recycled waste into playful and thought-provoking objects. Using pattern, repetition and form, he creates paintings, sculptures and installations which all blur the identity of everyday materials. These time capsules characterize the early 21st century as an era of limited resources and conversely high consumption rates.
Vargas has a BFA from the University of Nebraska in Omaha and is currently attending University of Minnesota for a graduate degree in sculpture. His work has been exhibited across the country and can be found in private, public and corporate collections across North America, Europe and Asia.
He explains his work by saying, “Aspects of salvage, collection and repetition run through all my works. I recover local materials deemed unwanted or useless, including trash, recyclables and surplus items and then transform them into playful, approachable and thought-provoking objects. I want my creations to act as artifacts and evidence of the early 21st century, an era of limited resources and extraordinary consumption and waste. This practice is most obvious in my sculptures, in which I use readily identified objects such as plastic bottles, cardboard, keyboard keys and empty paint containers. I play with the familiarity of these materials by blurring their identities into universal forms like spheres, globes, maps, pyramids, pills and skulls. These works address such diverse topics as contextual regional geography, the damaging effects of plastic on our bodies and global environment, and the multitudes of waste created by technological advancement. My sculptures evoke the taken for granted nature of everyday materials in society.”