05/28/2012 08:42 am ET

Lana Shuttleworth's 'Ethnomorphic Landscapes' At George Billis Gallery (PHOTOS)

How much attention have you given to safety cones? Aside from swerving to avoid them, or fleeing the scene if you did... have you ever thought about a cone's color, shape and vulnerability? Lana Shuttleworth has. For over 20 years Shuttleworth has been playing with the potential of a plastic cone beyond directing traffic. And her playful yet arresting works make us realize their potential as well.

To make her pieces, Shuttleworth removes the black base of a cone with a box cutter. She then cuts down the middle of the cone, turning it into a rectangle. She then embeds her found material into panels of naturescapes along with recycled water bottles and x-ray film. Her tranquil scenes of Klimt-inspired parks and Japanese-inspired cherry blossoms evoke a humanless, pure natural state. Yet the mosaics of found objects show plastics are often buried deep in our natural and cultural landscapes, even if we do not notice them. Shuttleworth creates an interesting but not incongruous relationship between nature and consumption, asking where found and recycled object fits into this spectrum.

Shuttleworth's works have no strong political message about the importance of recycling or the damning effects of pollution. Instead she saves the species of safety cone from extinction, rescuing those that have been run over or are in some way useless. Bringing her refugee cones to new life as aesthetic objects, Shuttleworth's project shows that objects, like nature, can grow, die and change with the seasons.

Shuttleworth's "Ethnomorphic Landscapes" will show at George Billis Gallery in LA until June 16.

Lana Shuttleworth