Michelle Stitzlein sheds new light on recyclable items

Opening reception is Saturday at Museum of Art.

Contact this contributing writer at bturner004@woh.rr.com.

What you throw out today, Michelle Stitzlein may turn into art tomorrow.

What you consider recyclable, she may hang on a gallery wall.

The Springfield Museum of Art’s McGregor Gallery will have the proof when “Industrial Nature: Works by Michelle Stitzlein” premieres with an opening reception at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21.

Utilizing recyclable objects — garden hoses, license plates, lights, wires — that have been donated or thrown away, Stitzlein crafts sculptures, allowing viewers to see these everyday items in a different light.

“I like the idea of challenging myself with unusual materials,” said Stitzlein, who has worked in this medium for 16 years. Stitzlein is from Baltimore, Ohio, in Fairfield County, southeast of Columbus.

There are 14 works from four different series and will include the debut of three pieces. Area residents even helped contribute to one of the new works.

The piece “Spring Millet” was created mainly from garden hoses donated by Springfield and Yellow Springs residents and collected by the Museum of Art last summer.

Another creates a moth out of old Ohio license plates and other items.

“When I heard Michelle say ‘My drill is my paint brush,’ I knew this exhibit would intrigue and inspire museum visitors in so many ways we haven’t even imagined,” said the museum’s executive director, Ann Fortescue. “It’s the kind of exhibit that makes you look not just once or twice but dozens of times to figure out the materials, the construction and, of course, if you donated one of the 300 garden hoses; you’re looking for your garden hose.”

Several pieces are created from outdated technology, including the carousels used to show photo slides.

Stitzlein said some pieces turn into an educational scavenger hunt in this way as several of her pieces hang in the COSI science museum in Columbus.

While she won’t tell visitors what they should see, Stitzlein hopes they will understand the concept.

“I hope visitors will see I work with materials that are outside the box and there’s always room to keep expanding,” she said.

The Clark County Solid Waste District, Meadow View Growers and Far North Computers are exhibit sponsors.

Fortescue said there are many layers to explore and could lead to seeing everyday materials in a new way and to think more deeply about recycling and the natural environment.

“What I love most about the exhibit is that it makes you smile at the incredibly creative way Michelle uses everyday objects to make art,” she said.

The exhibit will be open through May 28.

Stitzlein will give an Artist Talk at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, and at the Global Education Speaker Series Gallery Talk at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 4.

How to go

What: “Industrial Nature: Works by Michelle Stitzlein”

Where: Springfield Museum of Art, 107 Cliff Park Road, Springfield

When: Opening reception at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Exhibit runs Jan. 21-May 28. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays; 12:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays.

Admission: $5 adults; $3 students with valid ID and seniors; free for students ages 17 and younger and museum members

More info: 937-325-4673 or www.springfieldart.museum

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