The Great Trash Reef
Margaret Craig started her ongoing project “The Great Trash Reef” in 2016 at Blue Star in San Antonio. She has continued to expand this series and will present the latest version of this ongoing inquiry at the “Silos”. In this project the artist uses plastic trash collected from Texas beaches and her own household and recycles them into a brilliant under world replica of the lifeless reefs dotting the world’s oceans.
As Professor and Chair of Printmaking at The Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Margaret Craig has developed innovative printing techniques and laboriously prints the accumulated plastic trash segments and converts them into vibrant images of sea born organisms and alternative life forms, real and imagined. She also points out that some of the plastic has been utilized by sea animals as a newly available ingredients to be utilized, like some water striding insects use it to lay their eggs on it. That maybe a small ray of hope.
As the viewer walks through the installation as in an aquarium like reef setting, it is a stark reminder of the overall environmental toxicity of plastic trash. There are several giant plastic trash accumulations, some the size of Texas, kept by Gyre currents in the world’s oceans, notably two areas in the Pacific ocean. Also the plastic will break down into neurotoxic bits which then will enter the food chain and potentially wind up in our human food supply.