Every day I see Rumpke on display. Our trucks, trash and recycling carts and containers are all part of the landscape in neighborhoods throughout the region. However, what I didn’t expect to see was Rumpke on display at an art gallery, but that’s exactly what I experienced on Aug. 9 at the Weston Art Gallery
How the Pieces *Literally* Came Together
Matt Lynch, a professor from the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning, and Curtis Goldstein, Columbus artist and UC alum MFA, were inspired by the iconic worker murals created in the 1930s by Winold Reiss for Cincinnati’s Union Terminal.
For his murals, Reiss used glass mosaic tiles, but Lynch and Goldstein chose laser cut laminate for their updated pieces. Both artists share an interest in the way things are made and a fascination with manufacturing. This focus brought them to Rumpke Recycling with a request to depict an ordinary work day in an extraordinary fashion.
“Curtis explained that our relationship, which exposed them to our industrial environment, was the initial inspiration for this entire project,” said Brad Dunn, Rumpke’s Cincinnati region recycling manager. “They realized that they enjoyed touring manufacturing facilities and wanted to depict them in art in a similar fashion as the murals that were once present at Union Terminal.”
Capturing Life at Rumpke Recycling
First the artists took reference photos at Rumpke’s Cincinnati recycling facility in St. Bernard, Ohio. They then created rough sketches and a line drawing. The color selections were made digitally from nearly three hundred styles and colors of laminate donated by the Formica Company. Finally, it was time to assemble the pieces, which were first taped and eventually glued in place.
The result is a vibrant, colorful, large-scale mural that captures workers baling recyclables and driving forklifts. The artists’ favorite aspect is an employee sweeping the floor with a push broom in each hand.
The title of the exhibition was Work/Surface. It was on display at the Weston Art Gallery in the summer of 2018. Nine other Cincinnati area industries were represented, including GE Aviation, Procter & Gamble, Rhinegeist Brewery, Rookwood Pottery, and Formica. Eventually, five of the murals will be on permanent display at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the Rumpke mural will be one of them.
About the Author: Anne Gray is the education specialist for Rumpke Waste & Recycling.
(Pictured left to right: Anne Gray, Matt Lynch, Curtis Goldstein and Brad Dunn at the Weston Art Gallery)