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Jane Whitten's Wreaking Havoc Exhibit

April 13, 2018

Jane Whitten's Wreaking Havoc Exhibit



  Can you see the beauty in the debris on the beach?

  Jane can. 






Jane Whitten’s artwork transforms discarded items into artwork.  She takes the bleak and finds the beauty.  Her gallery collection, Wreaking Havoc, sets out to address this with artwork created by discarded items that have washed up on our shores. 

Sea Anemone by Jane Whitten

Sea Anemones by Jane Whitten

Photo by Hillary Dionne

“Climate change is real. Industrialization is wreaking havoc on the environment. We are surrounded by the amazing diversity of nature that is being gravely impacted by our ever-increasing development and abuse.”  Taken from Jane Whitten's Exhibition Statement

Plastics in our Oceans

Our shorelines are littered with discarded items.  Although I considered myself relatively aware of the impact plastic materials and microbeads have on the environment and wildlife, I still managed to travel down a couple rabbit holes while preparing for this post.  Thankfully the plastic microbeads typically found in products such as hand sanitizer and facial cleansers have been banned in Canada, but only at the beginning of 2018.  While I was doing some research on this, I discovered that there is more to microplastics than just microbeads  There are also secondary microplastics, which are "fragments of larger plastics broken down by wave action and sun exposure and these can be found in water bodies around the world" (Ariel Smith, Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation, 2018). 

These mircoplastics mix with other plastics and debris to form garbage patches in our oceans.   Check out this video on swirling monster of plastic trash.  It's not all microplastics; it's not all plastics but it impacts both our shorelines, oceans and marine life.  

So what can you do?  Be aware.  Check out the infographic below for more information on the impact of plastics and what we can do about them.  

Plastics in Ocean Infographic Bluenose Coastal Action

Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation is a charitable organization located on the South Shore of NS.  There goal is to promote the restoration, enhancement, and conservation of the ecosystem through research, education, and action.  For more information on them or their projects please check out their website

Sea Stars by Jane Whitten

Sea Stars by Jane Whitten

Made from discarded plastic bags

Photo by Hillary Dionne

Nature's Image from Single-Use Materials

Pack Ice by Jane Whitten

There are a lot of Jane's works in this show that are amazing replicas of ocean life, but there is one piece that always makes me stop and place it.  There is a piece that I would examine each time I visited Jane leading up to her show, called Pack Ice.  It is made of plastic bubble protectors that are on most products purchases in big stores, pharmacies, and grocery stores.  Each piece is connected with fishing line.  I love this piece.  I love the simplicity when you first look at it, the complexity of the stitch connecting it, but most of all I love the push it gives me to stop and think about all the unnecessary purchases I make: children's toys, toothbrushes, batteries, and pens each wrapped in this shell of plastic and how so many of these packages are floating in our oceans.  



Close up of Pack Ice by Jane Whitten


Jane’s work reflects the need to find ways to reuse the materials that are already available and to reduce those unnecessary in the future. 

Ultimately she wishes she would run out of materials for her artwork but until that day comes, Jane Whitten is doing her part to clean up our shores.  

To see more artwork by Jane Whitten, you can see her work on our Featured Art page or her website.  

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