Each of the moniquemeloche gallery artists in this exhibition incorporates wood into their respective practices, manipulating the same raw material in various ways with different end goals. We ask ourselves why, at this time, are all these artists considering this once-living material?
Working both with and against the natural grain and knots in internal slices of Cury Maple, Redwood, English Elm, and Cairo Walnut trees, Jason Middlebrook (American, born 1966, lives Hudson, NY)laboriously paints abstract patterns and designs on his leaning plank paintings. This material, along with Middlebrook’s continued investigation of man’s intersection with nature, reference the passage of time and growing cycles as much as McCracken and minimalist art practice.
The work of Robert Davis/Michael Langlois (American, born 1970/1974, live New York/Chicago) is often inspired by the visual language of the music world. In their newest body of work (the most sculptural to date), their richly stained wood constructions pay homage to the abstract linear designs on Eddy Van Halen’s guitars. These perforated screens, which hang on the wall or stand dividing a room, often incorporate the artists’ photo-realistic paintings of spray painted symbols.
Whether working with a table saw, teaching himself to chair-chain, or sourcing wooden panels from the local hardware store, the self-described painter Dan Gunn (American, born 1980, lives Chicago) builds malleable surfaces that use transparency and opacity to create balance and tension. His wall-based and free-standing works, comprised of materials like Plexiglas, glitter, paint and fabric in addition to wood, suggest different functional, aesthetic and cultural relationships between constituent parts that often evoke set-design or commercial display.
The majority of Joel Ross’(American, born 1966, lives Urbana, IL) recent sculptural work has taken the form of roadside signage that the artist constructs in most part of wood, secretly installs, and abandons at locations ranging from single-lane gravel farm roads to major highways on the outskirts of suburban Illinois. His luscious, but documentary-style photographs of these installations become the only record of his signs which tend to mysteriously disappear quickly from these desolate locales. Here we get a special exhibition of his sign constructions, sculptures onto themselves, slated to be installed.
Currently operating out of studios in Chicago and New York, Robert Davis and Michael Langlois (American, born 1970/1974, live New York/Chicago) have been working collaboratively sincemeeting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1997. They have exhibited internationally with solo exhibitions in Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, Berlin, and Naples Italy. Recently their work has been included in exhibitions at Untitled NY, the Warhol Museum Pittsburgh, APEX Art NY, and DePaul Art Museum Chicago. Davis and Langlois are two-time recipients of Artadia grants.
Prior to earning his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007, Dan Gunn (American, born 1980, lives Chicago) received a Bachelor’s degree in Physics. His work has been reviewed in publications such as Frieze, Art in America, Artforum.com, Artslant.com, NewCity Chicago, TimeOut Chicago, and the Chicago Tribune. Last year Gunn’s first solo exhibition at moniquemeloche was concurrent with his solo show – the 12×12 UBS: New Artists/New Work series – at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Jason Middlebrook (American, born 1966, lives Hudson, NY), has exhibited extensively in the US and in Europe since receiving his MFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 1994. His work has been exhibited at the Arthouse, Austin, TX; Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; The Aspen Art Museum, CO; Palazzo delle Papesse Centro Arte Contemporanea Siena, Italy; The New Museum NY; The Whitney Museum NY; The Welcome Trust, London; and the Public Art Fund NY, among other institutions. His work is in the permanent collections of the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA;Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Microsoft Corporate Art Collection, Redmond, WA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; New Museum, New York, NY; Progressive Art Collection, Mayfield, OH; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Currently, Middlebrook has work in the exhibition Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, curated by Lynne Warren, which has been traveling to various museum venues since its origination at the MCA Chicago in 2010. Upcoming in 2013, Middlebrook will have a solo exhibition of his wood plank sculptures at MASS MoCA.
Joel Ross (American, born 1966, lives Urbana, IL) holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy for 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 Associate Professor in the School of Art and Design at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. 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.