A Flurry of Fun - Ashland is Base Camp - Winter '24 Issue

Friday, October 22, 2021

Grants Pass Museum of Art fall exhibit

Grants Pass Museum of Art fall exhibit              

Sayaka Ganz Reclaimed Creations

Bringing harmony out of seeming chaos

Story by Lynn Leissler

Photography provided by Grants Pass Museum of Art


Grants Pass Museum of Art Fall Exhibit

October 29 – December 18

We too often despair at the sight of plastic litter on the street, in the forest, at the beach. Artist Sayaka Ganz, however, doesn’t merely lament. She sculpts exquisite creations from such discards. “If we value our resources, we will waste less.” she says. “I want to convey the message about the environment in a fun and inspiring way.”

Sayaka Ganz Reclaimed Creations has appeared in museums in a dozen states across the country. We in Southern Oregon will have the opportunity to view her work at the Grants Pass Museum of Art this fall, from October 29 – December 18. Hyla Lipson, Executive Director, feels privileged to showcase an exhibit of this caliber with the help of The Miller Foundation, The Autzen Foundation, and The Pacific Corps Foundation. Due to the size of many of the pieces, the exhibit will arrive in pieces with videos on how to assemble. One piece weighs over 200 pounds, and many will be cabled from the ceiling.

Growing up with Shinto beliefs that all things have spirits, Ganz feels sadness when she sees discarded items, whether on the streets or on a thrift store shelf. Using mostly common plastic household items with their variety of form and color, she creates dynamic animal forms that have a sense of movement. “I manipulate and assemble them together as brush strokes to create an effect similar to a Van Gogh painting in three dimensions.” She achieves what she calls 3D impressionism. She collects things, and friends give her objects or direct her to garage sales. Her sculptures are mostly monochromatic, and include found plastic items, wire, cable ties, and hardware.

Ganz sees her work as bringing harmony out of situations appearing chaotic. “When observing my sculptures up close, one might see gaps, holes, and items being held only by small points; step away, however, and the sculptures reveal the harmony created when the objects are aligned to the same general (but not identical) direction.” Such perspective is also gained by stepping back to view a large painting. She believes that in an era when people are often distanced from the natural world, artists have opportunity to either introduce or re-introduce them to that world. 

Museums and art galleries should be available to everyone, to follow guidelines of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Hyla feels the environment needs a place at the table as well. “It all started because we wanted to have an exhibit with things that shouldn’t go in the ocean or the dump,” she says. To that end, she looks forward to children coming with families or on field trips and seeing the value of not throwing something away. Children will be offered coloring sheets and a picture-coded scavenger hunt. Adults will also have a scavenger hunt sheet, but with words as clues. She plans to contact local garbage companies and ask them to make recycling brochures available.


About Sayaka Ganz:

Sayaka Ganz was born on Yokohama, Japan, and grew up living in Japan, Brazil, and Hong Kong. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Indiana University, a Master of Fine Arts from Bowling Green State University (Ohio), and taught design and drawing at Indiana University.



About Grants Pass Museum of Art:

The museum is located in a building constructed in 1905 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They located there in 1996 and converted the building from a private residence. It has been updated for accessibility and safety, but retains its historic integrity.

Grants Pass Museum of Art

229 SW G St, Grants Pass




The Tour of Sayaka Ganz Reclaimed Creations is produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C.

David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director


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