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Newsprint netting makes for original art

Recycled newspapers have seldom looked like this.
Connie Sabo amidst some of her pieces at Gibsons Public Art Gallery.

Recycled newspapers have seldom looked like this. Until you closely examine the work by mixed media artist Connie Sabo, you wouldn’t know the skeins of netting that she weaves for her pieces are made from newsprint she has twisted into thousands of metres of thin rope.

Sabo’s The Journey Ends Where it Begins is the latest exhibition at Gibsons Public Art Gallery (GPAG).

“I transform the mundane and play with scale to consider a different perspective and challenge perceptions,” Sabo said in her artist’s statement. “My material is simple and humble: discarded newspaper, that I deconstruct, reconstruct, and transform.”

Sabo acknowledged in an interview that it does take quite a long time to twist all that paper, but she’s getting very good at it, having worked with the unusual medium since she graduated from Emily Carr Institute [now University] of Art + Design in 2003.

The GPAG exhibition ranges from large-scale, trunk-like forms flowing from ceiling to floor that “offer an immersive experience where the viewer moves in and out and through the work,” to much smaller pieces.

The netting metaphor is one that Sabo has made a career exploring. “It’s this idea of connections, connections to each other, connections to the earth, and cycles in our lives,” she said. “You could be on a path or a journey. On that journey, you’re constantly learning, so that you can actually begin that journey again. Then it’s a totally different journey. So, there’s no real end and beginning, it’s sort of just one continuum.”

The main room of GPAG is taken up with the large-scale pieces while in the adjoining smaller room that is the Eve Smart Gallery, Sabo has mounted about 50 small works – hand-sized balls of her newsprint twine that are going though yet another stage of recycling.

“They’re created from discarded bits and pieces from past installations,” she said. “They’re these little memory pods, information pods that continue with that story that been somewhere else before.”

Vancouver-based Sabo will be back for meet-the-artist sessions at GPAG on Oct. 25 and on the final day of the exhibit, on Nov. 1.