Kevin Newark's Protoplasm takes the art of plastic bags to Leeds Pavilion

By Culture24 Staff | 09 February 2009
A picture of a torn light blue plastic bag in blackness

Pic © Kevin Newark

Exhibition Preview: Kevin Newark – Protoplasm, Pavilion, Leeds, February 26 – April 30 2009

“At first sight Kevin Newark’s torn and rejected plastic bags look like telescopic views of heavenly bodies,” says Greg Hobson, Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum, in a somewhat poetic response to the artist’s Protoplasm.

A picture of a see through plastic bag in space-like atmospherics

Pic © Kevin Newark

“We are then pulled up short by the realisation that we are looking at persistent organic pollutants that are slowly suffocating our environment.”

As taboo as CFCs and turning the heating up these days, the offending textile has already inspired Dodi Reifenberg’s colourful current show at Maddox Arts in London.

A picture of a clear plastic bag floating through water in the dark

Pic © Kevin Newark

Newark takes a different approach to the Israeli, photographing discarded carriers found in the canals of East London in a search for the soul of the object in pursuit of “transcendent possibilities”.

He’s focusing on time, anxiety, displacement and space – last time Pavilion commissioned Newark, the results were sky-high pieces of art formed by vapour from the exhaust of a jet engine as it condensed above 30,000 feet – and won the Jerwood Photography Prize in 2007.

A picture of a clear plastic bag with white sections in dark water

Pic © Kevin Newark

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