Making Amends Nos. 15-19, 2020–21. Broken cinderblocks, cast concrete, foam, candy, wax, ice, and C-prints, 16 x 8 x 8 in. each. Photo: Courtesy the artist

Object Lessons: Jackson Martin

“Making Amends” started with a broken laundry basket—a mass-produced, disposable product that, once broken, is designed to be thrown away and replaced, not fixed. The handle cracked, and my first thought was to buy another one. Then I realized that I could bend a piece of ash in the exact shape and insert it—not only would it be functional again and beautiful, it would be stronger and better than the original. But this project isn’t necessarily about mending specific products, it’s about mending our relationship with the environment, mending wrongs with respect to lifestyle. I’m also interested in repairing the value of these objects by making them as beautiful as I can.

As the series progresses, it becomes more and more ridiculous. Initially, the objects could still be used, like the first cinderblock in this group, which I repaired with white concrete. Now, not only are some of the repairs no longer utilitarian, they don’t even exist. When I “fixed” Making Amends No. 19 (Ice Block), it melted away within hours. I really like that about art—that I get to be a cartoonist in a way, taking reality and exaggerating it. The more absurd the fix, the more I can call attention to the absurdity of consumerism. I enjoy retaining some of the original disposability, but this may be heading toward the ultimate absurdity in a repair—remaking the object entirely.