studiotwentysix2 the art + design of tom davie

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Running the Numbers

Sorry for my absence this week, too many things going on for one lad to deal with.

I am in the process of finishing three new drawings for a meeting with a gallery curator next week, trying to meet a Monday deadline for some retail packaging, all while fighting an infection in my mouth. Before I went to my dentist, no pain, no infection...after going to the dentist and enduring some drilling, burning, cutting, sealing and grinding — infection. The infection has led to my wildly attractive chipmunk cheek, which is so stylish that I could be the poster boy for chewing tobacco. Right now, I look like this guy, only with more hair, socks and better posture.


I wonder if my dentist was the guy in Dental school who squeaked by with a C- average? You know, the guy other dental students made fun of — right now I’m thinking that’s the case. I offer you this analogy for my dental escapade. One sunny afternoon you take your car to Jiffy Lube for an oil change, and after parking and speaking to the attendant; you walk over to the vending machine to get a candy bar. When you return one-minute later, the oil hasn’t been changed, but your car is in 500 different pieces and the serviceman just isn't quite sure what happened. It’s sort of like that.

Anyway, enough of my moaning — on to task at hand. I received this link from one of my lovely and charming readers. It’s a photographic series by artist Chris Jordan, entitled Running the Numbers, An American Self-Portrait. Jordan photographically depicts statistics based on American culture. For example, there are 10,000 domestic flights in America daily, wherein Jordan creates a large-scale print that includes 10,000 airliners and their jet trails (a detail shot below).


I would label the work as obsessive, using a combination of concept and repetitive pattern, which is often visually impressive. I don’t want to be overly critical, but prints such as Denali Denial and Cans Seurat, just seem to be trying too hard, as if the concept itself wasn’t strong enough and that the patterns needed to exist within another image (You’ll see what I mean when you visit the site). I really prefer the prints Jet Trails, Prison Uniforms, Valve Caps and Shipping Containers because they allow you to engage with the concept, without having to deal with a concept and a larger context as well.

The work is really ambitious from a technical and photo-layering standpoint, certainly worth a look.

  • Chris Jordan
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