MIRIAM SLAATS . OIL = ART
When artist Miriam Slaats visited a factory that uses injection-moulding machines, she became instantly enamoured with the plastic material that remained after the manufacturing process. Her conclusion was that these tangles of polyester, polypropylene and polystyrene originate from the same raw material, namely oil. It later constituted the foundation for her BLOB ART and its related credo: OIL FOREVER.
Heating the plastic materials to very high temperatures creates a fluid mass that solidifies quickly while cooling down. During the time span in which the substance transforms from liquid to a mass, Slaats processes it into BLOB ART. She expressively calls this momentum ‘a personal symbiosis of freedom and coincident’, because it always forces her to enter a creative process based on her initial intuition. BLOB ART is the foundation for two types of art objects created by Slaats. The physically large art expressions of BLOB ART fall under the denominator of 3D MONUMENTAL BLOB ART, while ASSEMBLAGE covers the small BLOB objects. The latter objects are more specifically ensembles of poly-materials mixed with other raw materials, such as stone and metal, but also lost-and-found objects. Here the concept of the artist is that plastic as a base material is something created while an object that’s found has its own history. By connecting these opposites to each other, she creates food for thought for the observer. The all-encompassing credo, BLOB / Oil Forever, stands for the strength of the base material in all BLOB ART and to Slaats’ philosophy about oil.
OIL FOREVER . SLAATS’ THE PHILOSOPHY
Oil is the artery of our present society. From Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam and from New York to Tokyo, oil has penetrated every fibre of modern life. What happens when the source of this artery has dried out and we can no longer live off these seemingly inexhaustible natural resources that are so abundant in the world? What will happen when solar and wind energy eventually becomes the global norm? What will happen in the near future when the oil reserves start to dry up? It is not only the Western world that will soon have to accept the departure of an era; also the suppliers of oil can expect a turning point. On the other hand, alongside these bleak outlooks is also a story of joy, because the oil – while it is still here – can be preserved by applying it in art. This crossroad of emotions is where the United Arab Emirates and Miriam Slaats meet; a point where the Emirates has already taken to heart Slaats’ contemporary art forms with their explicit style.
It is not only the BLOB ART that entices and creates insight, but also the distinct philosophy that lies at its base. Before the oil fields do actually dry out, Slaats has opted to process oil materials into art objects based on the idea that her creations will provide a tangible reminder for eternity. This school of thought is reflected in the credo OIL FOREVER. Slaats´ philosophy is imbued with a healthy respect for oil. She chides the negative tone that oil so often has as a pollutant. “For me, it is not a waste product, but a substance that forces you to view life in a different way. Furthermore, by cultivating this raw material, you create something new. That gives the value of oil a new purpose.”
MIRIAM SLAATS & ROB MONAGHAN . OIL = PLASTIC = ART
In the spring of 2017, during a Portuguese ‘Artist Residence’, Miriam Slaats (The Netherlands) and Rob Monaghan (Ireland) met. The fascination felt for Slaats on oil-containing poly-material in all its facets also struck Monaghan deeply in his artist’s heart. After much discussion, experiments, investigations, illuminating properties and how ‘BLOB’ relates to nature, a fascinating collaboration between the two artists developed. In 2018 they initiated the “BLOB art movement”.
Nowadays they travel globally together, the BLOB material travels with them, from the European marble mines to the oceanic depths in the Middle East. Their collaborative works are of a very spontaneous nature, where Slaats as BLOB founder is the concept-director and often becomes performer, Monaghan is the BLOB visual artist and documents during their ongoing journeys. It provides the viewer with a fascinating visual language. Referencing the four elements of water, fire, earth and air, it is the basis for the varied metaphorical references of ‘oil’ and how we use and re-use it. It is observing environmental sensitivity, offers a mirror to industry, shines light on cultural norms and human intervention.
‘The BLOB art movement’ is a platform that opens up conversations, is substance for education and makes us aware that you can view things from a different perspective. Allowing one the experience of a renewed beauty.