Laundry Detergent Series

Surfactants, Optical Brightner and Fragrance

Works from this series were created for a small solo show at the Visual Art Centre of Clarington’s municipal space.  Selected works from Surfactants, Optical Brightner and Fragrance were presented during the second instalment of FLUID at the Agnes Jamieson Gallery in Minden, ON.

Part of Holly McClellan's Laundry Detergent Series

The laundry detergent series is a visual study using abstractions, lighting and macro photography.  The final works can be read as a response to the way information is filtered and condensed.  Eventually information becomes fragmented to suit various media outlets, formats and agendas.  Some of the environmental politics associated with consumerism and consumption inspired the series and acted as a backdrop during the creative process.  Several articles and interesting facts about laundry detergent surfaced while working on the series.

The most memorable and influential of the articles were about Professor Anne C. Steinemann’s paper titled “Fragranced Consumer Products and Undisclosed Ingredients”.  Laundry detergents were on of the list of products she analyzed in a lab.  The press release about her paper was widely distributed to a number of news outlets.  While she did not list any brands or branded products in her paper, reactions to her findings were strong.  Negative responses and assessments of Dr. Steinemann’s work, by those without Ph.D’s or other chemistry credentials received a notable amount of attention in mainstream media.

After this paper, Dr. Steinemann continued her work investigating product emissions and the effects on public health.

Green Washing

New products were appearing in stores and just as quickly disappearing.  The one bellow was a green product, designed for washing sweaty, smelly sports attire.  It’s hard to know if the product line was purchased by a larger company and renamed or if the product simply disappeared for business reasons like failing to meet sales targets.  The business side of the environmental movement and consumer response is not always straightforward.

Sport Laundry Detergent

Sport Wash.

The detergent series informed other works like V.O.C.  Collection and and substances and photographic techniques to explore and experiment with for Chemical World.

Environmental Footprint

Leading up to creation of this work, new terms ‘Environmental’ or ‘Carbon Footprint’ were starting to appear in the news.  People were interested and educating themselves about the environmental impact of lifestyle.  As an average, regular citizen these articles raised my awareness about the evolution of language, while at the same time the articles made me much more … Continue reading Environmental Footprint