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Unnecessary Things

Bert Green Fine Art


Unnecessary Things (No More)

Junk mail, spray paint, aluminum tape and staples on radiant OSB

52 x 44 inches

All We Have

Spray paint and resin on mirror

52 x 28 inches


Spray paint and resin on convex mirror with hand-sculpted epoxy frame

36 x 36 x 5 inches

Opening (No Shade)

Spray paint and acrylic on mirror

46 x 26 inches



Unnecessary Things is on view at Bert Green Fine Art in Chicago March 14th - June 27th, 2020.

                                                  Lord, I will learn also to kneel down
                                                  into the world of the invisible,
                                                       the inscrutable and the everlasting.
                                                  Then I will move no more than the leaves of a tree
                                                       on a day of no wind,
                                                  bathed in light,
                                                  like the wanderer who has come home at last
                                                  and kneels in peace, done with all unnecessary things;

                                                  every motion; even words.

                                                                                                                       — Mary Oliver

On October 8th, 2018, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report detailing the projected environmental and societal impacts of global warming 1.5o C above pre-industrial levels, the long-term temperature-stabilization goal posed by the Paris Agreement of 2016.

In this report -- now, nearly 1.5 years old -- the IPCC urged the global public to recognize that avoiding the forecast catastrophes of an Earth warmed beyond 1.5o C would require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

What can be made of this message? What, in practice, can it mean to fundamentally change everything, everywhere, in all aspects and in ways never before seen -- and to do so very quickly? It’s the kind of sweeping, philosophical challenge that brings every individual, every trade, every movement into question. It is a call to return our collective attention to that which is vital.

How might we move from this place? How might we, at last, come home?

These reflective sentiments weave throughout the works present in Unnecessary Things, one of two interrelated Chicago solo exhibitions by Jeffrey Michael Austin. A curious layering of reclaimed waste material, idyllic imagery, urgent pleas and spray paint on mirrored surfaces form an environment as disconcerting as it is spirited and inviting.

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