Using collected single-use plastic and found objects from the waste stream as art medium, I attempt to blur the lines between appetizing consumables, biological dissection and everyday "waste", to explore layers of meaning in an age where toxic materials of our own creation has saturated our environment and penetrated our species—both biologically and culturally—to the cellular level.
My sculpture and wall relief works depict abstracted glimpses of microscopic cell interactions, molecular-level contamination, a cross-section of interconnectedness, in an attempt to imagine how this very human-made material is interacting with living systems at the deepest level.
While always thinking about organic forms and textures that allude to perishables, I explore the dichotomy of decay and timelessness with a material that will never decompose. I am recording a material fingerprint, a time capsule, that implicates contemporary social values and attitudes surrounding environmental conservation, consumption, waste and how these affect our own bodies.
Bryan Northup is a Chicago-based environmental artist, utilizing single-use plastic as an art medium.
Since 2015 he has worked with found single-use plastics and foam to create wall reliefs, sculptural works and installations to highlight the role plastic plays in global climate crisis.
In 2019 Bryan was one of 12 artists chosen for the South Bend Museum of Art's Biennial 30 and was awarded Juror's Choice for his installation 'You Can't Put It Back In the Box'. His solo exhibition 'Sea Inside' debuted months later at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago, closing weeks before the pandemic began.
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.
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 maintains a home studio practice in Oak Park, IL.