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Reclaimed plastic sculptures come to life in next Lied Art Gallery exhibition

Sayaka Ganz specializes in reclaimed plastic sculpture.Sayaka Ganz takes her work in the plastic arts quite literally.

Using reclaimed plastic as a medium and styling herself a “3-D impressionist,” the artist has sculpted a vibrant menagerie of creatures: penguins to panthers, dogs to dolphins. Oct. 24 through Nov. 21, Ganz’s breathtaking animals, spun out of the sinewy remains of old toys, kitchen utensils, and baby bathtubs, will be on display at Creighton University’s Lied Art Gallery.

Ganz also will be using the gallery space at the Lied Education Center for the Arts to create new work comprising a 16-foot long whale, birds and marine vegetation fashioned from plastic. The artworks will be installed at Lauritzen Gardens and on display from January through May 2018.

“I grew up with Shinto animist belief that all things in the world have spirits,” Ganz says in an artist statement on her website. “Thus, when I see discarded items on the street or thrift store shelves, I feel a deep sadness for them and I am moved to make these abandoned objects happy. My sympathy goes out equally to all discarded objects regardless of materials, but my current working material of choice is plastic. I use mostly common household items to create animal forms with a sense of movement and self-awareness. I use plastics because of the variety of curvilinear forms and colors available. I manipulate and assemble them together as brush strokes to create an effect similar to a Van Gogh painting in three dimensions.”

Born in Japan and growing up in Brazil and Hong Kong, Ganz earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University-Bloomington and a Master of Fine Arts degree at Bowling Green State University.

Ganz also works in the medium of reclaimed metal, creating animals and objects in a flurry of motion and, she hopes, drawing attention to the power of the artist as the world reckons its ecological footprint.

“I believe the best way for artists to help reduce waste is to show how beautiful these materials can be, and what can be done with these mundane objects and materials,” Ganz says. “When we think of these things as beautiful, we value them. If we value our resources, we will waste less.”

Two opportunities to meet the artist will be held, one on Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and another on Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ganz will also be working daily in the gallery.

Hours for the Lied Art Gallery are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.

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