You’re Not Really Seeing This

Opening: Friday, Mar 15, 2024 5 – 8 pm
Friday, Mar 15 – Apr 22, 2024

1717 Central St.
Evanston, IL 60201



The Evanston Art Center (EAC) is excited to welcome the public to You’re Not Really Seeing This.

Textile artist Kelsey Merreck Wagner and sculptor and installation artist Bryan Northup exhibit artworks made of post-consumer plastics to spur social change. Approaching disposable, single-use plastics as a legitimate resource, rather than unusable “trash,” they see the potential to bring attention to the problem of plastic as a toxic pollutant in the environment, as well as the value plastic has as a creative medium for social change-making.

The artists believe that with attention focused on plastic’s materiality and its origins comes the power to challenge complacency and change minds and actions. The works they create carry a familiarity: the thin films of shopping bags, shrink wrap, packaging, as well as computer cables, styrofoam, and all manner of ubiquitous plastic waste from our daily lives are recognizable but reimagined. The artists extend their work beyond the wall so interactions are forced, viewers are standing on the work, enveloped in the pieces.

The long-term global effects of single-use plastic production and pollution are still barely understood and are already devastating. Wagner and Northup’s exhibition is a response to this impasse in values, an encounter with an unavoidable dilemma, and asks why it is we see the problem, recognize the “elephant in the room,” and continue to ignore her at our peril.

You’re Not Really Seeing This will be exhibited in the First Floor Gallery of the Art Center. The opening reception is free and open to the public. This exhibition is partially funded by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the EAC’s general membership.