Bianca Kolonusz-Partee

Where to Next?

By studying the American ports in person and the Asian ports via the web I have discovered the strength of the natural landscape asserting itself through the industrial terrain. My first international trip to the shipping port in Colombo, Sri Lanka confirmed my suspicions that understanding the landscape, people and culture is crucial to my exploration of international trade and consumerism. I created a body of work from my documentation of the trip for a solo show, The Jewel of the Orient, at Studio Blomster in Guerneville, California. I am currently making exploratory work from images I find on-line about several international ports for upcoming shows in Oakland at Kuhl Art + Frames (August 2016) & Archer (November, December & January). Creating this work will help me to determine which international shipping port to visit next.

Visiting the rich and complex island of Sri Lanka was a transformative experience. As better infrastructure is developed in Sri Lanka will the breathtaking four-hour train ride to Colombo through the heart of the country vanish? Sri Lanka has been colonized by many countries and embroiled in a horrific 30-year civil war and yet their culture has been resilient. I am hopeful that when I return Sri Lanka will have avoided a total conversion to consumerism. Sri Lanka was a stunning first trip - I can't wait to return- and now I explore where I should visit next: Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Germany or ?

Repurposing the highly designed product packaging of our contemporary world I create simulations of shipping ports that reveal these often ignored places. A global freeway container shipping provides a keen barometer of where we are right now. The environmental impact of shipping such large quantities of goods through mega ports is huge. And yet creating my work from recycled product packaging I have come to realize how influenced I am by the material world that surrounds us. Borrowing the aggressive language of advertising I create highly crafted landscapes directly on the walls that provide viewers a moment to themselves. I focus on industrial landscapes because I care so much about the natural world and feel that our connection to it is crucial as human beings. I worry that the further we get into our technological thingies the more detached we become from the natural landscape and the less we care what happens to it and ourselves. A balance between overindulgence and harmony is possible, but we must own up to our part in our current predicament.