Gent uses photographs and a large-scale installation to reveal consumer habits as seen through the eyes of an ex-grocery store bagger now putting his own wares on public display.
Drawing inspiration from his youth as a grocery store bagger in the Milwaukee suburbs, as well as his side-gig as a commercial photography assistant, Gent addresses the simultaneously intimate and revealing practice of consumption. The title, Not Quite As Good Because of You, comes from an inspiring and intimidating message from the company president in the Publix Employee Handbook. The exhibition features photographs of consumer products that appear unfinished or slightly off, and outtakes from commercial shoots that seem in-progress. In combination with the photographs, Gent will bag all the actual contents in his bedroom, even his bed. This installation flips the grocery-bagger-as-voyeur paradigm on its head by allowing the viewer to scan the items of Gent’s life in neat everyday packages.
Gent states, “While being a bagger you see peoples consumption habits, you observe the intimacy and consistency in which people purchase goods.” Gent articulates this intimacy through the carefully selected items found in the photographs. The outtakes from commercial shoots show a far less polished side of consumer advertisement, playing on the consumer’s own expectations of quality.