I collect found objects for assemblage/constructions on the beaches, bayshore, roadways, and recycling centers near San Francisco. I usually only pick up plastic objects—belonging to the lowest caste in the hierarchy of debris. I have become enthralled working with this material, and continue to be inspired by it, using a hot glue gun almost like a welding torch—allowing a spontaneity reminiscent of my experiences with copper and steel almost 45 years ago.
Sometimes I set out to make an image and actually search for the pieces to complete the idea, but more often it's the found object that dictates what I'm going to do. The completion of the preconceived vision is a much more structured way to work and gives me a sense of command over the materials. But inspiration and freedom come from letting this discarded stuff of our society provide the image itself.
My natural bent as a storyteller becomes obvious with the figurative nature of subjects. There's a sense of magic when a piece is completed—sometimes I don't understand how it happened. But, not unlike the editing process from my filmmaking days, it's just a question of the order of things.
Capturing gesture, form, and movement to bring life to this refuse is the essence of my art.
Jerry Ross Barrish
San Francisco, 2014