Plastic is everywhere. Plastic is wonderful and virulent. Sometimes you can see through it. Sometimes it can only be used once but it will last forever, even after disintegrating into dust and vapour. Plastic is a novelty. Plastic is an adjective and a noun. It's a way things are made and the stuff things are made from.
Shaun Hayes collages intractable waste and casts them into stone. Decapitated dolls, cute kitchenware and coffee mug handles. Ornamental birds and bubble wrap and miniature cactus. Lids and necks and pedestals. Containers for cakes, noodles, protein powders and bottles for flavoured water and metho and paint and casting slip that also lend their intended purpose to the name of the show. Single Use.
These works speak of the clarity and purpose in the skill of their maker, and of the strange relationship between ceramic and plastic, each fragile and durable in different ways, one an ancient craft and the other a modern industrial invention.
We can see the universal recycling icon embossed in some of these works. A symbol of hope or futility? Or maybe it signifies the cycle of influence in Hayes’ practice, his stylistic and technical inheritance of Chinese ceramic tradition, and that China is the world’s biggest producer of single use plastic.
The glazes resemble the iridescence of an oil slick or fuel floating on water, marking the petrochemical origin of plastic. Or maybe these vessels appear to contain a noxious solution, held in fragile forms that transmit a potent volatility.
Are these memorial vases or funerary urns? Or trophies awarded for reckless folly or abject humour? They are precious and dangerous. Collect them all. Handle with care and keep away from children.