Rebeca Gutierrez Fickling has chosen to explore a subject that is increasingly relevant today: the environment. Her unique approach, using abstract photograms created from plastics, both raises awareness of environmental pollution caused by excessive use of plastic, as well as breaches the border between photography as fine art, and its use as a political weapon for an ecological cause. Rebeca Gutierrez Fickling’s main interest lies in camera-less photography and the creation of photograms, using light and single-use everyday plastic items such as plastic bags and cling film. The forms created in her work are haunting images of abstract, natural landscapes – the same landscapes that are being polluted and destroyed by the plastic used in the photograms to create them. She uses this way of working by focusing on the materiality of the images and conveying a new way of addressing issues around pollution and climate change. Each photogram is a unique piece of work finely crafted in the darkroom, where the fragility and inimitability of each image parallels the frailty of the condition of our planet due to human activity. These unique works explore the theme of the Anthropocene, a new geological time-period scientists believe we have recently entered, where the Earth’s geology and ecosystem is being increasingly altered by humans. Polyethylene Alchemy is the name of this series and an important piece of work which explores the role of art in prompting discussion on environmental preservation; these delicate and thoughtful artworks reflect an issue that affects us all.
Jonas Cuénin is a journalist specializing in photography. His writings have appeared in the art sections of the review of the International Center of Photography, and the magazines Camera and Photograph.
Rebeca Gutierrez Fickling (b. 1993 Spain) graduate from Brighton University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art Photography. She has been exploring ways of using alternative processes, most specifically cameraless photography, to draw attention to the role of fine art as a political tool. She has been exhibited in Geneva, Brighton, London and New York, as well as having worked alongside Adam Fuss and volunteered at the Penumbra Foundation in New York. Her most recent work was made during an artist residency on a cargo sail boat in Canada where she made a darkroom in the ship to make her images.