Plastic

The “Plastic Show” at the Almine Rech Gallery in London is by Melissa Castro Duarte.

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It brings together works by DeWain Valentine and four of his contemporaries — Mary Corse, Robert Irwin, Craig Kauffman and John McCracken — who were all experimenting with newly available materials in Venice and Santa Monica in the 1960s.

Valentine’s acrylic sculptures suggest the air is “becoming a substance”: They’re vast glossy blocks, columns, discs and lozenges that change color as you move around them and gaze in and through them. “All my work is really about the sky and the sea,” he says.

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The high sheen of his sculptures comes from buffing and lacquering, techniques used in his parents’ garage. Works in the show by John McCracken, by contrast,  are constructed from plywood and fiberglass with a glossy shell of polyester resin, just like a surfboard.

Polyester is a synthetic polymer made of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) or its dimethyl ester dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) and monoethylene glycol(MEG).

PTA is 1,4 benzenedicarboxylic acid: C6H4(COOH)2, mol. weight: 166.13

DMT is 1,4 benzenedicarboxylic acid: C6H4(COOCH3)2, mol. weight: 194.19
MEG is 1,2 ethanediol: C2H6O2 , mol. weight: 62.07