Croteau considers herself a political artist and she uses her work to make statements and get people to think about things in a different light. By working with recycled bottle caps, Croteau wanted viewers to acknowledge their presence and educate them on how seldom the caps are actually recycled. Her work initially began by stacking the caps and plastic pill bottles into towering and precarious sculptures. Her “endless columns” were inspired by Constantin Brancussi’s iconic modernist sculptures.
While making the columns, she noticed that smaller caps easily nestled inside larger caps, and different colored caps created new color combinations when viewed from afar. This made her think about Chuck Close’s painted portraits and the pixellated way he could create a photo-realistic image with just shapes of color. With this revelation, she got sidetracked and set out to create a large-scale self-portrait completely out of bottle caps. Some of the bottle caps were trimmed to fit into tight spaces, but otherwise paint was only used in the dark shadow areas where the white board showed through. The end result is an 8 x 7 foot piece composed of hundreds of bright bottle caps arranged in a mind bending way to form a replica of her face.
Via This is Colossal
Images ©Mary Ellen Croteau