We dropped by Flatbed Press last night for Annette Lawrence’s “Free Paper” exhibition, hosted by Austin Green Art. It was an activist exhibit – Randy Jewart was strongly encouraging, if not requiring, people to sign the ForestEthics Do Not Mail petition. They want to create something similar to the “Do Not Call” registry, which lets you opt out of telemarketing calls. With a “Do Not Mail” registry, you could opt out of hardcopy junk mail, which we seem to tolerate better than the calls or email spams – but the mountains of junk mail are taking down whole forests, which is one point of Lawrence’s exhibition. The exhibition “onstitutes a body of work that addresses issues of excess and consumerism.”
While journals and personal calendars have provided inspiration in previous series, daily junk mail provides the source material for this exhibition. Lawrence explores her concerns about the extreme amount of paper used in the effort to advertise products and services through direct mail. The paper collected over 395 days (thirteen months) weighs a total of 265 pounds. Free Paper is both a commentary on the disposability of consumer culture and an attempt to introduce order and meaning.