The work discussed in this story is on view in the exhibition By-Product Becomes Product at Intersection for the Arts (925 Mission Street, San Francisco) through March 30, 2013. There is an artists' talk on Saturday, March 23, at 1 p.m. (free and open to the public).
We all know that formaldehyde is toxic, but you may not know that it's an essential component of the glues that bind together such commonly used construction materials as plywood and particle board.
And unlike asbestos, which becomes inhalable and therefore harmful only when disturbed, these composite wood panels actually off-gas formaldehyde all the time.
The artist Christine Lee, who has been a lecturer at CCA for the past several years, was concerned about the effects of formaldehyde gas -- not only on people dwelling in structures made of these materials, but also on the artists who use them, possibly without even knowing they are exposing themselves to harm.