Tag Archives: Bridgeport Art Center

StudioLab Presents Remix: Record Cover Collage By Jessica Barnett DeCuir

crimson_collinsDo  you recognize the two classic album covers represented in this collage titled Crimson Collins, by Jessica Barnett DeCuir? This is just one of an impressive collection of album cover collages that go on display at StudioLab as part of the Bridgeport Art Center Third Friday Artist Open Studios event on Friday  May 15th 2015.

StudioLab is proud to bring Jessica Barnett DeCuir and her album cover collage show, Remix, which has its opening reception on May 15 and remains on display through June 12.

“As a visual artist & musician,” DeCuir says, “I continually look for ways to blur the boundaries between art & music, whether through installation art, collaborative live music performances, or mixed media works. This series of collages are created using album covers featuring pop & rock bands of the 1970’s and 80’s.”

What parameters did she use to create the work? Could any album cover be fair game for Remix? DeCuir says it was far more challenging than simply grabbing some dusty old record jackets out of a bargain bin somewhere and getting to work. Her process involves a more methodical approach.

“I limited myself to these two decades (70’s and 80’s) because the albums are easy to come by and are the nostalgic, often cheesy soundtrack of my years growing up and listening to radio, records and tapes.” Her investigation of these albums turned up a few surprises along the way. “Many of the original album covers contained subliminal content, later to be revealed through my 2×2” square cutting process.”

What is that subliminal content? You’ll have to see for yourself on Friday, May 15 2015 from 6PM to 10PM on the 5th floor of the Bridgeport Art Center. StudioLab will provide refreshments while supplies last and Jessica Barnett DeCuir will be available during the opening reception. The works in Remix are for sale, and all proceeds go toward the artist. StudioLab does not accept a commission or fees of any kind for this show.


New Work: Artificial Landscapes

Joe Wallace New abstract paintings Chicago

I’ve been working on some new pieces lately and they’ve taken on a life of their own…this has quickly turned into a series that shows no signs of stopping. At first I thought they might be some kind of unholy addendum to that (comparatively) little canon of Neo Plasticism, but after a lot of staring at these damn things it seems clear (to me, hah) that the origin of these images is  a lot  more practical, meaningful (to me)  and interesting than just riffing on an early 20th Century style .

I won’t give the game away, though–telling people what to think of your art feels about the same as giving away the ending of the new murder mystery thriller–it’s a cheat to the viewer who is busy forming their own ideas and opinions about what they are looking at.

A good 50% of the first-time viewing experience for any piece of art (in my mind, anyway) is deciding whether or not you like it or not, then the rest of the battle is drawn up around WTF it means, if anything, or whether it’s simply aesthetically great but isn’t making some kind of statement.

A lot of times, in my own art experiences, I’ve arrived at the “Statement” conclusions a lot later on, realizing that I had missed something crucial about what I was looking at the first time around. Sort of like watching a movie and missing a key plot detail and asking your neighbor what’s going on, I found myself needing that extra little bit of context or info to clue me in.

Case in point:

I once saw a sculpture of what appeared to be a lion or an impression of a “Chinese dragon”. It was made entirely out of cardboard and while I thought the piece was an impressive bit of tenacity and patience while assembling all those little pieces of cardboard, I hate to admit that i felt that otherwise, so what?

Imagine how stupid I felt when someone mentioned in passing, almost by accident, “It’s made entirely out of Nike shoe boxes”. And then that sculpture seemed like an entirely political statement, and a really pointed one at that.

That’s when I decided I couldn’t really judge any piece of art by my first impressions of it any more.

But I digress. This series of new work is a mixed media thing–I’m using acrylics on pine board, pen and ink on water color paper and a lot of other variations…but the end results are the same.

The blue and red piece is ink on watercolor paper, the yellow and black is acrylic on pine. I’m working an ongoing series of these for a show coming later this summer at StudioLab on the 5th floor of the Bridgeport Art Center.

These pieces aren’t technically for sale just yet, but there has been some early interest expressed, so if you want to know about  viewing and purchasing, please get in touch with me at jwallace242@gmail.com for details.

Joe Wallace Bridgeport Art Center abstract Art

Chicago abstract art Joe Wallace red blue 2

Chicago artist Joe Wallace blue red 1

2015: Year Of The Manifesto, The Rant, and The Screed Update


Manifesto Rant Screed William Burroughs Zines

The year-long art installation project 2015: Year of The Manifesto, The Rant, and The Screed is off to a great start and it’s not even New Year’s Eve yet! I’ve set up the initial display in my window the outer walkway area of StudioLab (located on the 5th floor of the Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago) to include a small collection of books that inspire the project and offer some cultural context for it.

This project will change and mutate on a regular basis and while the initial presentation is a bit more on the educational side (especially the books and the early writings to give context) I do plan to dive into a great many of my own manifesto, rant and screed writings which are all custom made for the installation as I go.

I’ve even got some time set aside to do a “rants on vinyl” section to showcase some crazy LPs I’ve discovered along the way, and sometime in 2015 I plan to explore something I call “visual rants” and the notion of a visual manifesto that is communicated in pictures rather than words.

This entire year-long project is inspired, informed, and even promoted by zines, indie publishers, etc. A lot of the visual style is informed by roadside panhandlers and religious zealots with their hand-lettered signs and placards. Still more inspiration comes from the ravings of conspiracy nuts and religious extremists of all types.

My goal in using this style is twofold—I find my own handwriting to share similar qualities with these people (for better or worse) and I’m hoping to refine my style a bit through a LOT of daily handwriting. Secondly, I’m not setting out to make fun of anyone, but I have long found myself wondering what the reaction would be if the same exaggerated style were used to communicate non-conspiracy minded or “repent, sinner!” type messages.

So this project is sort of a social experiment as well as anything else I might be trying to do.

Here are some images of the work so far. These are not all the pictures available, you can see all the work to date as it evolves by following me on Instagram at instagram.com/thestudiolab. I’ll be documenting the work all year long as it evolves–I am hoping to change things on a weekly basis, if not more often than that as time permits…at the end of the year I will compile all the documentation into a book about the project. Do I dare keep a diary about this and including it in the book? Might be a good idea…

–Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace manifesto rant screed 2015 art project Joe Wallace 2015 Manifesto Rant Screed zines project Manifesto Rant Screen 2015 Joe Wallace art installation Manifesto rant screed zines 2015 update Joe Wallace

2015: Year of the Manifesto, The Rant, and the Screed


StudioLab 2015 Year Of The Manifesto

What you see here is an event at StudioLab as viewed through the large picture window in the hallway of the space. That window area becomes home to a new StudioLab installation art project in 2015 that will last an entire year and feature an ever-changing collection of material being posted and documented.

The project is called 2015: Year of the Manifesto, the Rant, and the Screed. Partly inspired by outsider artists, partly inspired by the “Aspen Wallposter” art of Hunter S. Thompson, and partly inspired by zine and indie publishing culture, this project is ongoing through the entire year. It will be extensively documented here and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The entire project will be collected at the end of 2015 and published in a book bearing the same name.

Keep watching this space for news, updates, and more information about this unique and challenging installation art project at StudioLab!