Arboreal Compilations

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These compositions are the latest in a growing body of work exploring connections between humans and nature in contemporary society. I work part time in the shipping department of a small company, and witness a surprisingly large amount of paper waste. As an artist, and avid environmentalist, I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the paper left behind from generating shipping labels. This paper contains a waxy coating, allowing the sticky label to be removed easily while preventing easy recycling. These mixed media works consist of photographs printed on those label backings.


The works created from this material have a soft, blurred effect, the result of the ink bubbling on the waxy surface of the labels. In each work crossing intersecting the warning text from UPS labels, and the occasional logo create subtly flowing lines of text. To me these works are as much about the idea of repetition, as they are about fragmentation. Elements of the same photograph are repeat- ed throughout each work. Layering the transparent layers of thin paper over top of each other creates ghost areas, where the image fades into the background. A visual representation of an interconnected grid-symbolic of our ever increasing interconnectedness as a society, evoking the logistics networks of large shipping firms. Growing from that grid, strong resilient trees overlap, fragment, and repeat.

I seek answers to questions through my work: Where does nature fit into this grid? How do we reconcile our need for material objects with our ecological selves? We forget where we come from, in the search of where we will be. These pieces freeze time in search of a space for contemplation.

These images and artist statement were first published in Red Wedge #5, “Bad Dreams.” Purchase a copy here.

Marissa Angel is a mixed-media artist who graduated from Tennessee State University with an MFA in Printmaking.