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Jason Rogenes redeems styrofoam packaging

(left) "Locus", 2007 eps foam inserts, fluorescent lamps, electrical components, cardboard, 38ft x 36in x 31in, installation at the Whitney in Altria, (right) portrait of the artist by Darrin Little.

You know all that styrofoam and other earth-unfriendly material lying under the Christmas tree this time of year? For the past several years, Jason Rogenes, a New York based artist, has been performing his part in redeeming their presence by using them to create amazing sculptures and installations.

Rogenes uses discarded pieces of EPS (Expanded PolyStyrene), the custom-formed styrofoam material used to securely pack everything from consumer electronics to fragile glassware. In Rogenes’ nimble hands, styrofoam, that annoying and sometimes despised object, becomes transformed into startling otherworldly assemblages.

Though abstract, Rogenes’ work calls out for classification.  Some look like space stations, extraterrestrial architectures, or cubist serpents.  Most of Rogenes’ works hang from the ceiling with their electrical cords draped undisguised around the piece. By strategically placing light within the styrofoam, Rogenes illuminates details of the sculpture dramatically.

Andrea Scott reviewed Rogenes work at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria.  She described “Locus” (see the above image on the left), as “an ingenious composite of Brancusi’s Endless Column, Dan Flavin’s fluorescence and pyramid power. Mr. Rogenes’ 40-ft tall construction pairs an illuminated totem pole of found polystyrene packaging with cardboard construction that recalls the modular polygons of Buckminster Fuller.”

Installation view of commissioned exhibition at 101 California Plaza, San Francisco.

Cathode Chimera, installed at Navy Pier Walk 2002, 45 feet in length

*Images courtesy of Jason Rogenes.

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