THE SECRET LIFE OF PLASTIC BY OONAGH HERBERT, 30TH JUNE- 4TH JULY 2015, CLASSIC CRAFT, ENNIS

The Secret Life of Plastic- 3D Art installation by Oonagh Herbert

30th June – 4th July 2015, Classic Craft, Barrack Street, Ennis

By Antje McInerney

In a small business premises on Barrack Street in the heart of Ennis, a most unusual exhibition was shown during Ennis Street Festival 2015. Over the space of only one window, visible to the passer-by, hung these unique- almost futuristic creations.

Stepping inside the premises, to the right, I was greeted by colours and shapes the like of which I have never seen before. The aforementioned creations were plastic sculptures hanging in front of the window made by Artist Oonagh Herbert.

Underneath the sculptures were very comprehensive posters of the Life Cycle of the material used by the artist, from raw materials to manufacture to usage and finally to recycling. Shockingly, it showed how only a small percentage of our plastic throwaways actually get recycled- part of the artist’s theme being to highlight the audacity of our modern day world of consumerism by staging an exhibition of Art made with ‘waste.’

To say the least, I was intrigued.

Herbert creates intricate, astonishing sculptures out of various plastic waste product, be they out of drink bottles, toys, wrappings etc. Merging various types of plastic together through the means of melting, cutting and shaping, the result is a conglomerate of colourful yet organised chaos. Looking closer, there seemed to be no beginning and no end to each unique piece. I could make out certain shapes like the bottoms of coke bottles, however, other shapes utterly eluded me. Every item had a life of it’s own, beautifully arranged.

Having realised the importance and creativity of this young lady, I felt more than sad about the venue of this exhibition. Although it is a beautiful small business premises, I can’t help thinking that her exhibition was kind of ‘wasted.’ The space was far too small, I would have loved to see each piece displayed with a darker background in order to stand out even more. Featuring as ornaments with a natural green background, like hedges, hanging from trees or amongst flower displays at garden shows may be an option.

Nevertheless – Herbert’s aim was achieved. As I walked home, I suddenly saw every bit of plastic with a new sense and even started thinking of trying out my own ‘Plastic Life.’

Antje McInerney is an actress and writer living in Clare.

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