by Megan Daly
Taking a multi-disciplinary, methodical approach, artist Rachel Honnery uses her practice to examine the changing conditions of our marine environments, focusing on colour to present her findings in visually striking ways.
With the project absolute kippleization (above), Honnery directly investigates the presence of plastic waste in our waters. According to J.R. Isidore of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, 'kipple' is the useless stuff that continuously accumulates throughout our lives, a clear metaphor for the current issue of plastic waste. Every fortnight for twelve months, Honnery collected, cleaned and documented plastic found floating the waters of Congwong Beach, La Perouse. The collected plastic was then categorised and placed into specimen jars for exhibition. Enticed by the attractive colours and curious display, the viewer is forced to confront this excess; a resurrection of junk which never actually stopped existing.
"I like to think of plastics as a material artefact, disintegrating and transforming both physically and functionally... No longer a vessel or a lid, the plastic becomes adrift, a floating interference in the water until it becomes a receptacle for bacteria, a toxic anomaly or a fake food source."
Where absolute kippleization can be seen as zooming-in on our oceans, Residue of a Polar North zooms right out. Taking part in an artist residency in the Arctic Circle, Honnery travelled by boat among shrunken glaciers on waters previously frozen, witnessing first-hand melting polar ice and a proliferation of waste. With this photographic series, she creates a microcosmic version of the thawing glaciers transforming from blue to white. Imagining how the earth must look from space, this work attempts to produce a cognitive shift akin to an 'overview effect' for viewers.
With her direct visual style, Honnery's message is communicated plain and simply - our planet is transforming, and we must pay attention.
Rachel Honnery was chosen to feature in Issue #4 of Radical Art Review, Farewell Earth.
To see more of Rachel's work or to contact her, visit: