From Garbage to Gallery: Art Student Nathan Byrne Mines Your Junk

Friday, May 19, 2017
CNET -- The artists take daily trips to the public disposal area, sometimes more than once, to pick through the stuff San Francisco throws away. Nathan Byrne's Recology studio, a shipping container, overflows with evidence of his frequent scavenging. There's a camper top, a cathode-ray TV, broken mirrors, theater chairs from the '40s, bike tires, a basketball, stacks of books, spools of thread and a taxidermied moth. For the upcoming exhibit, Byrne is constructing a series of 12 light-based sculptures that reference science and nature through recurring forms suggestive of cells and other organisms. For one piece, he's turned an opaque fiberglass planter into an odd sea anemone by drilling holes in it and inserting multiple medical pipettes. "I have enjoyed the improvisational element of the searching and discovery," says Byrne, who's 41 and an undergraduate in studio art at San Francisco State University. "I also enjoy the limitations of the situation, which spurns me to problem-solve and experiment."