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above: detail from CLOSE, a self-portrait of Mary Ellen Croteau made with plastic bottle caps
There seem to be an endless number of talented artists creating portraits using assemblages of unexpected items; licorice, junk, toys, pills, pencils, diamonds, pushpins and more. I have already featured nine different artists who create portraits from such items unusual work on this blog and now I'm introducing you to a tenth, Mary Ellen Croteau.
(click on each image below to see posts on each of these nine artists):
above: Top row. l to r: Bernard Pras' portrait of Bruce Lee, Zac Freeman's portrait of Garrett, Scott Blake's self portrait. Middle row, l to r: Jason Mercer's portrait of Kim Kardashian made with licorice vines, Christian Faur's portrait made of crayons, a diamond and sapphire gemstone portrait of Marilyn Monroe. Bottom row, l to r: Federico Uribe's portrait of a tiger made with pencils, Charles Manson made of rubik's cubes, and Eric Daigh's pushpin portrait.
Mary Ellen Croteau had been working with plastic bottle caps to create columnar sculptures, but while crafting these, she became compelled to create a large self-portrait with them.
She describes this inspiration below:
"Plastic bottle caps - like bags, a plastic product that can’t be/ isn’t recycled. I conceived of an “endless column” of these caps, after Constantin Brancussi’s (sic) iconic modernist sculpture. One became two, and two became many...:
...While making these columns, I noticed the smaller caps tended to nest inside one another, and the color combinations reminded me of Chuck Close’s painted portraits. So I got sidetracked and started on a large self-portrait made entirely of bottle caps. The piece measures 8 feet by 7 feet. No paint is used, except to delineate a few shadows where white board was showing through. In a few cases, the caps are trimmed in order to fit a tight space." - Mary Ellen Croteau
close-up of the nose:
close up of eye in progress:
The final assembled piece displayed for Art on Armitage:
Mary Ellen Croteau is an artist whose work directly addresses the absurdities of social norms, and lays bare the underlying bias and sexist assumptions on which our culture is constructed.
She lives and works in Chicago, IL.
See more of her unusual art here.
a shout out to This Is Colossal for bringing Mary's work to my attention