GUS WHEELER

ARTIST STATEMENT:

Advertisements, pictographs, and placards are simple technologies that are used to navigate a complex world. The activity of marking, labeling, and diagraming makes our environment both comprehensible and illusory as we try to decode what is infinitely intricate.

 

This project is a direct response to the density of a city, where distinct systems of understanding overlap, producing moiré patterns of interpretation. My aim is to draw out complex meanings from what is assumed to be concrete. Information on a sign is understood to be a directive and as a proxy for persuasive or authoritative speech. How I understand a sign is rooted in its environment and location. The effects of abrasion, weathering, or misprinting unbraid the hardened image and allow me to understand something unintended. The things which surround it often have unexpected irony or resonance with the actual information on the sign, become the catalyst to juxtapose and free-associate.

 

I have painted a meticulous reproduction of a pictograph on a glue trap and then photographed that painting staged in my apartment complex’s trash room bins. My hope is that by moving a stolid image through mediums and contexts the meaning becomes malleable. To me, the image no longer communicates the efficient killing potential. Instead it suggests a much more complicated relationship between humans and rats: we feed them and house them while simultaneously loathing their existence.  

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