On view from December 1st until January 15th at the Elastic Vision Gallery, Strange Attractions is a project by visual artist Jordan Martins, based on the Chicago-specific tradition of hand-painted, block-letter grocery signs which have come to be associated with Hispanic markets in the city. This exhibition is comprised of new large scale panels, stemming from a storefront installation project carried out at various locations in the city in 2011.
By exaggerating the expressive colors and gestural rhythms of the original signs, Martins builds patterns that simultaneously attract (using fluorescent colors, bold shapes) and conceal (by undermining legibility). In this sense they relate both to natural camouflage and bright plumage used by animals to attract mates, or to broader notions of how visual stimuli affect or sculpt behaviour. Martins’ technique creates a double abstract gesture where the sliced and torn edges of the signs interrupt and amplify the painterly qualities of the original signs, creating mutations of the original strokes and lettering. This mirrors the way this particular sign tradition as a Chicago phenomenon has survived by mutation, having been re-appropriated and celebrated by ethnic markets even as it was made obsolete by more modern sign printing.
During the opening reception on Thursday, 12/15, the artist will present two short videos with a live sound performance.
This project is partially supported by a Community Arts Assistance Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
Opening Reception: Thursday December 15th, 8:00 – 10:00 PM
December 1st, 2011 through January 15th, 2012
Elastic Vision Gallery, Elastic Arts Foundation: 2830 N Milwaukee, 2nd floor
For more information:
Artist website: www.jordanmartins.com
Artist contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elastic Arts website: http://www.elasticarts.org/
Elastic Arts contact: email@example.com