During the summer of 2012, I commenced a new series of work with a large mural in Bloomington, Indiana, and several unsanctioned mini-residencies in strip malls across the midwestern United States. The mini-residencies were performed in a 1971 Shasta Compact travel trailer that I have transformed into a mobile art studio. During my time in residence, I camped, photographed, wrote, and sketched the landscape from in my little mobile aluminum cabin.
These “residencies” yielded a new series of paintings, drawings and sculptures offering a playful commentary on the advertisement and vast environment of the assorted strip malls and shopping plazas that populate the American roadsides. The immense scale and screaming color of the advertisements and signage in these areas contrasts greatly with the logos that conform to familiar layout, offering a feeling of anonymity to the potential shopper/camper/artist. While these areas have a dullness, emptiness, and overall sameness that makes them forgettable, it is this sameness, evenness, and familiar anonymous quality that allow these areas to generate a safe mental respite with an ominous potential for danger.
A simplified color palette and mixture of common, low-cost, and scavenged materials works to instill a high-art veneer that is thin-skinned. The creation of these compositions is considered as quick, fleeting, and disposable as the lifespan of the subjects they reference. These images present a type of picture that is aware of its own inability to achieve objectivity, as the Kodachrome snapshot or the text message. They revel in their own brevity and lack of subtle commentary as they address an environment focused singularly on a short-term existence.
The first installation shots in this photo set were part of a exhibition called “Kodachromia & Perspectrum” at the Hastings College Gallery in Hastings, Nebraska in March of 2014.
This work was also shown in Baltimore….Bloomington, Illinois…..and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Thanks to those artists and organizers who put those shows together, and the folks that attended.