TIFTON — The new Plough Gallery exhibit, “Mouth Water in Elbow Grease,” opened Jan. 20.

Electric pinks, greens and yellows, once ordinary objects like envelopes and lamp cords were unexpectedly transformed into new and original shapes with a new and original function. Objects abandoned by the roadside reshaped into artworks. Stapled to the walls were crocheted plastic bags, discarded rugs, dirty foam cushions and artificial flowers.

The artist, Lauren Michelle Peterson, mingled among attendants discussing her work.

If her work could change someone’s behavior she wishes they would buy less things, use less disposable plastics and purchase used items instead of new. Peterson said the opening reception surpassed her expectations.

Often, she noted, people are afraid to admit when they don’t immediately understand her work, or art in general, but she reassured the uncertain.

“It’s not a guessing game,” she said.

There isn’t a correct answer, a correct interpretation or a correct analysis. She explained that everyone approaches art with their own histories, ideas and perspectives. That affects how they interpret everything and that includes her work.

One of the rooms of the gallery was darkened for a projection. Visitors sat on long wooden benches facing a vertical video. In it, crocheted materials come in and out of focus ,bright colors and textures. The projection spanned the height of room, dwarfing viewers. It bent along the corner of the room.

The video was taken during a performance Peterson was doing. A camera strapped to the inside of her handmade clothing, capturing her movements under the performance, engulfing the audience. She said this was one of the most exciting parts of the exhibit — seeing the room darkened and her projection become immersive.

Peterson didn’t expect to make new work for the show, but a spontaneous piece emerged. A wall mounted work, hoisted by wooden L-brackets holds light green packing foam and a wood framed photograph crowned with an unusually shaped piece of Styrofoam with the word plastic painted onto it in neon green and blue. The items were secured together with caulk, a frozen white ooze. Next to it, on the foam shelf, a pile of sweepings made of dust, fiber, and paper scraps collected after the show was installed. Behind the pile, a photograph framed by painters tape.

The exhibit will remain on display for approximately a month. Plough Gallery is located at 216 West Eighth Street. It is open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tues through Thurs and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fri and Sat.

Photo captions

Photos by Shelby Evans

DSC_0087 - Lauren Peterson working on installing her show “Mouth Water in Elbow Grease”

DSC_0098 - The new piece Lauren Peterson created at the gallery.

DSC_0078 - Co-owner Mark Errol with Lauren Peterson installing her show.

DSC_0101 - “In the closet, In the cabinet, On the floor” made from rugs remnants, plastic bags, clothing and thread.

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