UNWRAPPING: Desire, Allure and the Culture of Single Use Plastic

This exhibition engages with the Clarence community to break down our complex relationship with plastics, tackling our urgent environmental issues

Unwrapping topper

This exhibition is the outcome of a 12 month collaboration between the Lower Clarence Arts Group, Cowper Art Gallery and Studio, McAuley Catholic College; and local artists Cassandra-lyn Palmer, Kerrie Bowles, Julianne Gosper, Linda Coombs, Deborah McLennan, Cynthia McDermott, Suzanne Monin, Toni Simpson, Diane Nixon, Michelle Worley and Pamela Denise and GAS artists Maurice Goldberg and Matthew Aberline.

This exhibition explores the GAS’s fascination with the tantalising, decorative aspects of consumerism and commercial packaging, endevouring to break down our complex relationship with plastics, while raising awareness and tackling our urgent environmental issues.

What draws us to the shiny, colour saturated surfaces, and how does it create in us a sense of value and status? How can such a powerful object of desire become completely worthless the moment it is discarded?

The cheap cost of production, lightweight and flexible nature of plastic has made it a seductive and popular material industrially and in the home from the early 20th century onwards. Intoxicated by these qualities,
at the close of the Second World War, the mass production of plastic goods began to escalate. With no touchstone for the devastating environmental impact of plastic materials it is no surprise that the planet has become inundated by non-biodegradable waste in eighty years. Plastic does not decompose, rather, fragments and deteriorates into increasingly smaller pieces. 

A report commissioned by the Australian federal government established that less that 10 per cent of all plastic used in Australia was recycled in 2017-2018.  Despite decades of effort to reduce, reuse and recycle, the highly involved process needed to clean and process plastic, large scale recycling efforts are often unviable. Almost all plastic waste is generated from packaging.

Despite increasing awareness of the plastic pollution crisis, and ongoing efforts to reduce single use plastics, apathy towards environmental issues continues to rise. Goldberg Aberline Studio’s art practice breaks this cycle of waste, revealing an unexpected future for single use plastics. 

The exhibition has been supported by CompostMe / PA Packaging Solutions.

Image credit: Goldberg Aberline Studio UNWRAPPING (detail), 2020, single use plastic, variable. Courtesy of Goldberg Aberline Studios

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Related Pages

Past Exhibitions

Showcasing past exhibitions of local and national artists, the permanent collection and touring exhibitions.

The 2022 JADA

Works by the 56 Finalist's of the 2022 JADA.

Riverstones and Ramifications: Bronwyn Bancroft

This exhibition celebrates the deep connection between the artist and her Uncle Pat Bancroft.


A survey exhibition presenting a cross section of contemporary art from diverse artistic voices in New South Wales.

Our Place - Celebrating the Clarence

An opportunity for Clarence Valley creatives to get involved with the Gallery.

River to the Sea

Celebrating the magnificent Clarence River and surrounding landscape through the eyes of renowned national and local artists.

Our Place: Celebrating the Clarence

Celebrating the Clarence Valley and the creativity of our local community.

SELECT: Recent Acquisitions to the Collection

Celebrate the opening of the new Gallery with a selection of recent acquired works.


This exhibition celebrates the distinctive vision of Australia's aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects

DRAWN: Another View

Showcasing recent works on paper by Clarence Valley artists.

COLLECTION: Local First Nations Curator Dani Gorogo

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For the Love of Drawing: Pam Fysh

Presenting a selection of works exploring the diversity of Pam's practice.

The French Door Gallery

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Summer Sensations

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Adaptation: Goldberg Aberline Studio

A large scale nation-wide collaboration project created during Covid-19, 2018 - 2021.

RESIST-STANCE: Blak Douglas & Jason Wing

A micro survey show of hand-picked works seen for the first time on Bundjalung Country.

Birdsong: Robert Moore

This exhibition affirms the artists fascination with birds, living and working in the bush they are a constant in the landscape.

Lingua Franca: Text Works from the Gallery Collection

This exhibition celebrates language by bringing together works from the collection that feature text.

Self: A Northern Rivers Creative Group show

Featuring the work of Xanthe Dobbie, Stephen Garrett, Laith McGregor, Antoinette O'Brien, Fabian Pertzel and Joe Swepson.

The Green Room: Works from the collection

Hidden Treasures from the collection curated by local Clarence Valley Nations artist Frances Belle Parker.

Gesture: Works from the collection

Works that communicate ideas about the broader human experience through body language and gestures.

Awakenings: the making of 'Things Impossible'.

An exhibition that explores ablism, mental health and gender expression through technology including virtual reality.

Sue Bell: Young at Heart

An exploration of childhood memories referencing family mementos from the past and present.

Kade Valja: Soul Ties

This exhibition explores and documents Kade's spiritual lessons and life experiences from a human standpoint.

Teo Treloar: And Now, The Plague

These graphite pencil drawings investigate the themes of isolation, existential threat, and the absurd realities of life in a pandemic.

Jacaranda Festival Artist Dani Gorogo

A survey exhibition of local artist Dani Gorogo's works

Re-Collect: Lyndall Phelps

This exhibition explores the recurring themes of collecting, nature and history which dominate Phelps’ art practice.

Archibald Prize 2022

An Art Gallery of NSW touring exhibition

Young Archie 2022

Australia's cutest art prize

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