Not How It Happened: Joel Ross and Jason Creps

5.18.13 – 6.22.13

Ross and Creps use language that is psychologically charged, occasionally menacing, intentionally disorienting, at times humorous, and always thought provoking. They play with the ambiguity of language to create phrases that can have multiple meanings, are highly sensitive to context, and open to interpretation by the viewer.

These messages are constructed into physical signs that are clandestinely installed and abandoned in public/private spaces such as parking lots, yards, and alleyways to be discovered by the public. The messages of these sculptures take possession of their site, changing the viewers experience of the space and its meaning by inserting a narrative, commenting on the surroundings, or addressing the viewer directly. Many viewers, coming across one of these signs in an empty parking lot at night, may be inclined to look over their shoulder and leave quickly.

While the signs are sited, Ross and Creps take beautiful, intentionally dramatic large-scale photographs (usually at night, using only the existing light and conditions) that become a document of the interaction of the sign with the chosen space. For their exhibition at Tiny Park, they will be exhibiting all three stages of the work, with a combination of text-based works on paper, sculptural signs, and large-scale photographs. An additional sculpture will be installed off-site in the city, to be viewed by passing pedestrians and traffic at all hours of the night or day.

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Joel Ross received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1992 and a BFA from Tufts University in 1990. He received a discharge from the United States Marine Corps in 1984. He was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1966. He is the son of a police sergeant and the grandson of a Baptist preacher. He is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago.

Jason Creps received a 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 buses 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.