Mental LandscapeGAMBIER, Ohio (November 9, 2009) The confluence of social, political, and economic forces and its effect on the landscape is explored in a site-specific installation at the Olin Art Gallery at Kenyon.
The exhibition -- "Mental Landscape" -- was created by the artist team Juan-Si González and Paloma Dallas and runs from November 5 through December 19. The artists will discuss their work on November 12, at 7:30 p.m., in Olin Auditorium.
"Mental Landscape" features roadway photographs framed and linked by rulers that function as highways with model automobiles attached. A performance-art video and three audio presentations help create a sprawling, conceptual landscape spiked with commercial interruptions. The continuous-loop recordings include audio-taped interviews with Kenyon students and Knox County, Ohio, residents, who reflect on the economy and related issues from different perspectives. Audio snippets from rural radio programs, maps, and farm artifacts add conceptual texture to "Mental Landscape."
"A big component is looking at the way advertising and marketing have affected our culture, how advertising dominates our culture," Dallas said. "You can see the way we interact with each other is very much via billboards, via signs, directed at people in their automobiles."
González noted that the car, particularly in the 1950s, was a symbol of independence and the American dream and is now identified with diminishing resources and suburban sprawl.
In a statement about the exhibition, the artists said it "builds on some of our earlier work that examines how the lines between advertising and political propaganda have blurred, and how marketing techniques have come to dominate our communication."
González and Dallas of Yellow Springs, Ohio, present their joint exhibitions as JPparalelos. Gonzalez is a native of Cuba and Dallas is a native of Springfield, Ohio. They have collaborated on projects exhibited at Hardcore Contemporary Art Space, Miami, Florida; Herndon Gallery, Yellow Springs; Open Books Gallery, Yellow Springs; Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Spaces, Cleveland, Ohio. In 2007, the Ohio Arts Council awarded JPparalelos an Individual Excellence Award.