RED BANK: ART WITH A (RE)PURPOSE

Lisa Bagwell PizzaArtworks sculpted by Lisa Bagwell from discarded plastic items (such as PIZZA, above) are on display now at the Red Bank Library, along with digitally modified images by Lynne Kennedy (whose scene of Middletown’s Mt. Olivet Cemetery is pictured below). 

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It’s everywhere at once and all around you, once you choose to notice it — the non-biodegradable detritus that Lisa Bagwell calls “the masses of cartons, cups, plastics and cutlery that passes through the hands of myself and the people around me.”

A resident of Red Bank, and a Long Branch employee in charge of that city’s public gardens, Bagwell can seem to be many places at once herself — as a naturalist for the county Park System, a farm worker, a vegetarian cook, and a volunteer with the nonprofit Clean Ocean Action. In her “spare” time, the Rutgers grad is an artist; one whose sculpture work has been exhibited in spaces that have included the Monmouth Museum, Newark’s Aljira Center — and the Red Bank Public Library, where a collection of her pointedly playful creations is on display now through the month of June.

“I am a hoarder of unwanted scraps and have the best intentions for giving them a new life,” explains Bagwell, “…but my deepest intention remains to raise people’s awareness of the wasteful and destructive lifestyle lived by most Americans.”

Building that awareness out of objects that most people would prefer to wipe from their collective memory — and enticing viewers with themes that include adorable animals and wry takes on junk-food favorites — the self-described “environmentally responsible resident of the Garden State” has “declared it my creative duty and ethical responsibility to sort, store and reinvent these unsung heroes of our life into a mass that is all their own and serves only to inspire, humor and hopefully give thought to what is so often simply thrown out.”

Taking a different approach — one that looks at living things and landmarks through new and enhanced eyes — Lynne Kennedy joins Bagwell as the current co-featured ceative at RBPL. A specialist in digital manipulations and modifications of photographic images, the artist is displaying her pictures of birds, dragonflies and other wildlife under the title Hopes and Dreams, with the works exhibited on the wall behind the circulation desk near the main entrance to the library.

“The images here on display at the Red Bank Public Library represent the simplest of my digital pieces, and for most, the only changes were to add some texture or framing,” says Kennedy, who shared an exhibit with her cousin Eileen at the Oyster Point Hotel last year. “There was little need to alter such beautiful creatures after the image was recorded.”

The art of Lynne Kennedy and Lisa Bagwell can be viewed during regular library hours: Fridays 1 to 5 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Mondays and Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesdays and Thursdays 1 to 9 p.m. The library is closed Sundays, and on the Memorial Day weekend dates of May 28 through 30.