Joel Ross in collaboration with Jason Creps Alleys and Parking Lots
September 15 – October 27, 2012
on the wall: Type A Target September 15 – December 29, 2012
Joel Ross in collaboration with Jason Creps
Alleys and Parking Lots
September 15 – October 27, 2012
Reception for the artists
Saturday, September 15, 4-7pm
This exhibition features new work by Joel Ross in collaboration with photographer Jason Creps. This series continues Ross’s interest in public signage, veering off the open road to examine text as it interacts with the built environment: the in-between spaces of alleys and parking lots. The artists construct signs which they clandestinely install, photograph, and abandon at locations between Chicago and Southern Illinois, resulting in a series of large-scale, color photographs.
“We looked for fissures and vacancies, roadside spaces we could take advantage of, and then wrote narratives and built sculptures to fill them. We also wrote stories and then searched (sometimes exhaustively) to find locations with the right conditions for those characters. The sculptures are declarations, and they take possession of their site, however briefly, with confidence, humor, urgency, and sometimes aggression.”
- excerpt from Joel Ross and Jason Creps’ artist statement 2012
This work occupies a tension between the precise mise-en-scène of placing these signs in anticipation of a photograph and the documentation of the performative act of installing and abandoning these text-objects. The locations are often selected for their ominous feel or dramatic found-lighting scenarios – dusk, dawn, or the dark of night creating lush textures that frame multiple voices and narratives. These photographs, while still and seemingly outside of time, also reveal traces of human activity in isolated spaces: an illuminated doorway of a vacant shopping center, an abandoned tire, a lone shotgun shell casing. The drama of Ross and Creps’ private performances belie the stillness of these oddly compelling and beautiful images.
Joel Ross (American, born 1966, lives Urbana, IL) holds an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA from Tufts University. Born in Port Arthur, Texas, he is the son of a police sergeant and the grandson of a Baptist preacher. He received a discharge from the United States Marine Corps in 1984. Currently he is an Associate Professor in the School of Art and Design at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Recent exhibitions include It’s Not My First Time, Beta Pictoris Maus Contemporary Art, Birmingham AL; (No) Vacancy, Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago IL; and Write Now! curated by Nathan Mason, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago IL.
Jason Creps (American, born 1975, lives Chicago, IL) received his BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design in his home state of Ohio and promptly entered the world of commercial photography. He then spent as much time as possible living in vans and busses while touring as a musician. Chicago became home in 2000 and from there, he works as a photographer, performs with the bands Man Is Man and The Glorious Vapors and makes multimedia installations with One Degree Off.
September 15 – December 29, 2012
Reception for the artists Saturday, September 15, 4-7pm
For their first exhibition in Chicago, Type A will exhibit a sculptural installation in neon, recently featured in their solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver earlier this year.
“Created in New York City in the 1960’s, “The Thug,” aka Advanced Silhouette SP-83a, aka B-60, became the standard paper target utilized by the New York Police Department for target practice. It was soon adopted by other cities and gun enthusiasts. Today, it is the official target of the United States Department of Homeland Security. “The Thug” is meant to symbolize an actual, physical threat that must be met with deadly force. Not a circular target or anonymous silhouette, the hunched corpulent figure aims a gun right at you.
Security devices in the urban environment are so prevalent as to almost disappear from the public’s notice. Objects which are designed to offer a layer of reassurance in an atmosphere of fear become part of the landscape. Likewise, images of “the enemy” have become woven into every aspect of the media to a degree that begins to drain them of any sense of threat. Target represents this unspoken transformation from the utilitarian to the banal. Like an earlier work Barrier, aestheticizing functional objects can be not only absurd, but critical of social indifference. Target brings an image from police training into the living room and makes the archetypal image of the enemy part of everyday life using neon, the medium of the corner store, the neighborhood movie theater, the local bar.”
– excerpt from Type A artist statement 2012
Type A is the collaboration between NY-based artists Adam Ames (American, born 1969) and Andrew Bordwin (American, born 1964) established in 1998. Using a variety of media, Type A explores the ways men compete, challenge, and play, and the resulting social and psychological imbalance. In addition to the MCA Denver, Type A has had solo shows at The Aldrich Contemporary Museum, DeCordova Sculpture Park + Museum, The List Visual Arts Center, Addison Gallery of American Art, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. A major commissioned sculpture, Team Building (Align), is permanently installed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park.
Special thanks to The Commission of Wicker Park / Bucktown (SSA #33) for their support of the on the wall series.