Bryan Northup is a Chicago based environmental artist, utilizing single-use plastic as art medium. Since 2015 he has worked with found single-use plastics and foam to create wall reliefs and sculptural works that record a material fingerprint that alludes to contemporary social values. 
Bryan graduated from California College of the Arts in Oakland, California with a BFA in Fine Art Photography. He was born in Los Angeles and currently resides in Oak Park, IL. 


Bryan’s artwork has been exhibited both nationally and abroad in galleries including Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (CICA), South Korea, Gallery 524, Bortolami, TAG Gallery, Gallery MC, South Bend Museum of Art, International Museum of Surgical Science, Beloit College Wright Museum of Art

   Upcoming Exhibitions


My work responds to human dependence on a uniquely modern material: plastic.

I use single-use plastic as an art medium to explore larger environmental issues that we are not able to ignore anymore, food web contamination, species extinction, global pollution, climate change and more broadly how everything is connected to ourselves.  I am attempting to blur the lines between appetizing consumables, microscopic cellular structures and what we throw away - exploring layers of meaning in an age where plastics have penetrated our species—both biologically and culturally—to the cellular level.


In the future, plastic will be the undeniable marker in the fossil record of humankind.  Humans make 288 tons of plastic “garbage” annually, the equivalent of the weight of every person on Earth, in plastic. We are now dependent on the convenience single-use plastic promises, to deliver everything from a quick snack to a Covid vaccine, and like it or not, this material is our species most lasting legacy.


My work is part mosaic, part painting, part sculpture. The organic forms and textures created, suggest perishable matter, flesh or food likely to decay quickly, but because these objects are created with the permanent materials of plastic, they will never decompose.  Using dimensional slices, or sections of rolled plastics as mark making devices, abstract wall reliefs and sculptural works are created in an attempt to imagine how these very plastics are interacting with living systems at the deepest level. 

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