the Main Gallery:
JIMMY & JIL BAKER
At a time when America's optimism about the war in Iraq is exhausted,
we have just witnessed the unveiling of the largest US embassy in
the world in Baghdad. With $592 million dollars of emergency funding,
the embassy will house 21 buildings, a water treatment plant, and
an electrical plant on 104 acres within the Green Zone of Baghdad
on the banks of the Tigris River.
Artist Jimmy Baker and architect Jil Baker set out to comprehend the
US embassy project with only scraps of data found on the internet.
Their interpretations of the heavily fortified hermetic complex expose
the disparity between U.S. foreign policy’s ideology of “democratization”
and this new war-fortress approach to diplomacy.
A dark figure looms in the painting Succession, which features a hybrid
portrait of L. Paul Bremer [Director of Postwar reconstruction, 2003],
and ambassadors John Negroponte, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Ryan Crocker.
This mutation shows an uneasiness and uncertainty toward the factual
progression of oversight in Iraqi relations. This uncertain future
in Iraq prompts us to imagine a Kafka-esque vision of further metamorphosis
for the figure in Succession. The architectural site model, Invisible
Fortress, employs a three dimensional replica of what the complex
might look like based on layout images that the architectural firm
Berger Devine Yaeger leaked on the internet before being shut down
by the State Department. This model is a saturated solid gold city
cast into a mass of clear resin. Many reports have described the design
to be 'suburban' in nature, in keeping with many accounts of life
in the Green Zone. The other walls include framed images combining
computer renderings of the embassy complex and screenprinted imagery
depicting the turbulent existence outside of this bubble. They contrast
visions of development and disaster, as they look beyond the construction
phase of this behemoth site, and into its placement within the origins
of human development in the Fertile Crescent.
Jimmy Baker's recent solo show, Rapture,
at Roberts & Tilton in Los Angeles was written about at Artforum.com,
Art US, and the Los Angeles Times. His other solo shows
include The Captives at Foxy Productions in New York City
and Challenges at Weston-Bolling Gallery in Cincinnati, OH. He will
be included in a group show at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati
in 2008, and he will also exhibit at Foxy Production’s new Paris
location in the spring of 2008. Jimmy has been included in shows at
Western Exhibitions in Chicago, Black Floor Gallery in Philadelphia,
25 Bold Moves Emerging Artist Exhibition in Los Angeles, and the DePauw
Biennial in Indiana. He holds a BFA from Columbus College of Art and
Design, Ohio and an MFA from The University of Cincinnati, OH. Jimmy
Baker (Dover, Ohio 1980) lives and works in Cincinnati.
Jil Baker is a project designer at Michael Schuster
Associates in Cincinnati. She holds a Masters of Architecture, and
a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from The University of Cincinnati,
and a BFA in Interior Design from Columbus College of Art and Design.
She has also studied architecture at the Denmark International School,
and has worked for LSM and Studio Architecture, both in Washington
DC. Jil was born in Cincinnati, OH (1979) lives and works in Cincinnati
In the Plus Gallery:
GEOFFREY TODD SMITH
Geoffrey Todd Smith Will Romance You When He Is Good And Ready!
Geoffrey Todd Smith's abstract drawings mix beauty and danger in equal
measure, enticing viewers into fields of beautiful psychedelic patterning
only to reveal wickedly spiked and thorny shapes. As viewers, we recall
the moments when we began asking questions like: Why are my parents
inspecting my Halloween candy? What was that high school boy in the
Ace Frehley t-shirt distributing on the playground if not stickers?
Influenced by nature documentaries on gorgeous carnivorous plants,
great white sharks and razor sharp coral reefs, these colorful and
trippy hand-made drawings are both seductive and threatening.
Smith uses a series of small geometric shapes to form fields of brightly
colored images drawn with gel pens on a variety of colored papers,
often including collaged elements or shapes painted in gouache. This
limited vocabulary of mark making presents a range of images that
evoke a mood of sentimentality for activities of his youth: jigsaw
puzzles, video games, sticker collections, and doodling as well as
his youthful fascination with simple geometry and one-point perspective.
A key drawing in the show, "Please Don't Lick the Pollock,"
was inspired by a story Geoffrey was told about a girl who had the
odd desire to lick a Jackson Pollock painting on a trip to a Washington
D.C. museum, a story that made him want to arouse a visceral response
to the viewing of his work. Hence, Geoffrey Todd Smith will reward
the patient viewer by turning them on!
In 2007 Geoffrey Todd Smith was included in "The
Uncertainty Principle: Drawing in the Golden Age of Worry" at
the Northern Illinois University Art Museum and in "Obsessive-Explosive"
at the Evanston Art Center in Illinois. Recent shows include a solo
at ButcherShopDogmatic in Chicago and group shows at Telephone Booth
in Kansas City, Mixture Contemporary in Houston and SUNY-Purchase
in New York Smith has work in the collections of Hallmark Cards, Inc.
in Kansas City, the South Bend Regional Art Museum and Harper College
in Illinois. He was featured in the April 2007 issue of
Chicago Magazine as one of Chicago's "rising stars
we should be collecting now" and his work has been written about
Smith lives and works in Chicago.
Geoffrey Todd Smith
the Drawing Room:
Romaniszak's comic books (masquerading as artist books) about parasites,
fecal matter, bad dreams and awkward social interactions travel the
line between dark humor and bad taste, marrying whimsy with disgust.
Bookmaking allows her to share stories -- often autobiographical --
hilarious, weird stories, that just might embarrass her if she were
to tell them in person
This show will feature 4 new books and a set of trading cards. In
"Small Talk" two old friends, a moose and a bear, run into
each other and catch up in that awkward small talk way. "Joe:
Nature's Misfortune" is a chronicle of the physical and mental
issues of her sister's dog Joe. "The Likes of Tim Biedron"
and "The Dislikes of Tim Biedron" are two books cataloging
the likes and dislikes of tattoo artist Tim Biedron (information for
the books was gathered through interviews and eaves dropping). "Little
Levi's Guide to Canine Parasites" is a set of 15 informational
trading cards about parasites.
Kristen Romaniszak is currently slinging t-shirts
for a living and her artist books and comics about poop and flatulence
have been included in shows at Western Exhibitions, Fraction Workspace
and Gallery 2 in Chicago. She received her BFA from the School of
the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006 and currently resides in Chicago
with her bisexual dog Levi.