Art History

Al Gorman pulls trash and debris from Falls of the Ohio to create works of art | Pro Club Bd

The mighty Ohio River carries more than tall trees and other natural debris in its strong southwesterly current, much of which is dumped at Ohio State Park’s falls.

That children’s toy you left in the yard or the take-out container you accidentally left at Waterfront Park can find its way to the falls, one of the most uniquely ecologically significant sites on earth, dating back nearly 400 million years old is. There’s no other place on earth like this, and the cycle of life takes place in a freshwater ecosystem on the Indiana-Kentucky border – with a trashy human twist.

It’s the garbage calling out to Al Gorman.

Gorman, 65, surveys the landscape at the falls with a keen eye for that special piece of driftwood, Styrofoam, a plastic bottle, a baby doll’s head or a flip-flop that could become part of a work of art.

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If art is in the eye of the beholder, then Gorman’s art is a sting in the eye. Comedic and tragic at the same time, his found works of art are childish, whimsical and absurd at first glance, but deadly serious on closer inspection.

Artist Al Gorman photographs a display of lighters he found at the Ohio Falls.  July 23, 2022

His artwork is currently on view at the Moremen Gallery at 710 W. Main St. in the exhibition From the Cabinet of Unnatural Curiosities through August 13. On opening night, a line of people lined the door waiting to see his one-of-a-kind artwork.

The work consists of large hanging clouds made of styrofoam and crazy mammals made of the same petroleum-based material, as well as shelves full of dolls’ heads and collages of lighters. All parts were found and gradually rescued from the falls.

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