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Photo courtesy of William Garrett
Photo courtesy of William Garrett

Plastic meets art in exciting and innovative ways at Plastique Trois, an art exhibit which will be showing for the third straight year at the LIC Arts Open. 

Plastique Trois, translated in English as “plastic three,” will be shown from May 15 to 20 at the former Jeffrey Deitch Gallery, now the Anable Basin Bar & Grill, located at 4-40 44th Drive in Long Island City. All the art in the exhibit will combine artist’s different mediums with a process called thermoforming, which involves heating sheets of plastic until pliable.

Photo courtesy of William Garrett

Photo courtesy of William Garrett

William Garrett, who is the creator and curator for this event, originally pitched the idea to Plaxall three years ago. Garrett said he was originally inspired by the work of Marcel Broodthaers, a Belgian artist who used thermoforming in his works.

The process of thermoforming was created 70 years ago by Plaxall founder Louis Pfohl. According to the Plaxall website, the original method involved “heating plastic sheets on gas burners, then forming them over matched wooden dies using a huge foot press.” Today the technology is more sophisticated, with aluminum dies, precision heating elements and computer-controlled hydraulic cylinders replacing the old equipment.

Photo courtesy of William Garrett

Photo courtesy of William Garrett

“Plastic is so common in our lives that its use and value as a creative medium is often overlooked. When artists from varied disciplines and styles take on the unfamiliar process of forming the otherwise familiar, the result is always a pleasing and surprising mix of ideas and forms,” Kenny Greenberg, whose work will be featured in Plastique Trois.

Garrett said that the response to the “Plastique” exhibits have been positive. He added that “the viewer finds it exciting” to see the stories that are told through the art and they enjoy the combination of seeing the artists’ creative process in conjunction with the stories and the venue of the gallery.

The plastic business is currently run by Louis Pfohl’s third generation family members Paula Kirby, Matt Quigley and Tony Pfohl. She expressed her longstanding support of Plastique Trois and other Long Island City artists.

“Supporting local artists – whether by hosting Long Island City Artists as tenants at our Plaxall gallery, or opening our factory once again for William Garrett’s fantastic show – has long been a priority for our family. What better place to host a thermoforming exhibit than just across the Basin from where our grandfather opened our factory more than 70 years ago?” said Kirby.

Photo courtesy of William Garrett

Photo courtesy of William Garrett

Other artists part of this exhibit include Lisa Diclerico, Jean-Marie Guyaux, Annalisa ladicicco, John Long and Garrett who were involved in last year’s “Plastique Deux.” These artists will contribute their experience to newcomers like Diane Hendry and Jack Rohe Howard-Potter who will be debuting works as this year’s event.

The exhibit runs from May 15 to 20 as part of the LIC Open. The event opens with a press reception on the 15th from 6 to 8 p.m., and the artwork will be on view from noon to 9 p.m. through May 20. An opening ceremony will take place on May 18 from 7 to 11 p.m. and will feature a rare live concert appearance by the ambient, psychedelic, country and western combo SUSS at 9 p.m. 

For more information on Plastique Trois and other events at LIC Open, visit the LIC Arts Open website. A full-length online booklet of all the LIC Arts Open festivities is available here.

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