Inside the City

Stephanie Brooks, Diego Gutiérrez, Charles LaBelle, John Lindell, Danica Phelps, and Mindy Rose Schwartz

Inside the City explores subjectivity in the topography of the city. Artists based in Chicago, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and New York use the terrain of their home cities and draw on the traditions of conceptual art and street photography to reveal urban processes of individualization.

In Torre Latinoamerica (1999), Diego Gutiérrez (Mexico City) captured on video his intervention into the comings and goings of workers and visitors in the Latin American Tower, the tallest building in Mexico City. As an artist set up with an office in the Latin American Tower, Gutiérrez uses his work as a catalyst for exchange with workers at and visitors to the tower. The images of his video record the reactions and actions of elevator riders’ surprise at Gutiérrez’s intervention.

Being There (Exterior and Interior) (2001) by Charles LaBelle (Los Angeles) catalogues the tenuous relationship between the artist’s experience of the daily paper and the locales he visited every day for the month of January 2001. Juxtaposing the two images as exterior and interior sites, LaBelle spatializes the psyche somewhere between physical places and the fantasies derived from impressions, memories, and imaginings. In Rapture (Red, Blue, Gold), LaBelle emphasizes the immersion of bodies in a conflation of private and public environments.

In John Lindell's (NYC) video The Blue Hour (1994), the soundtrack of men’s personal ads accompanies the desolate image of a street. Mindy Rose Schwartz (Chicago) created an installation environment for Driving Around (2001), a six-hour video of her daily driving routes over one week. Similarly, in Walking 9-5 (2001), Danica Phelps (New York) documented the length and trajectory of daily walks she took through New York. Walking in one direction from her house for the equivalent of an eight-hour workday, Phelps mapped her art-making labor onto the city.

Stephanie Brooks (Chicago) presents seven computer printouts of Chicago locales she knew from childhood. Processed through a computer program intended to make image transferring to needlepoint easier, the gridded images balance a home craft and explicit conventions with meaningful locations from the artist’s past. Suspended in the shattered image, the location and the artist’s relationship to it become imbalanced, precarious to the point of evacuation. It is the location, the memory, and the image—in particular the relation of image to childhood experience and the relevance of the image to the artist’s current endeavors—that weight the image to be preserved in stitches.

Describing himself as neither a photographer nor a videomaker, Diego Gutiérrez is an artist primarily interested in art as a bridge for communication. Gutiérrez presented a one-person show at the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil (Mexico City) in 2000. He participated in the exhibition inSite 2000 (Tijuana/San Diego) and co-organized a Mexico-U.S. exchange project Point of View: Between Two Cities at Art in General (New York) in 1999. Educated in Mexico and the Netherlands, Gutiérrez has exhibited widely in Mexico, the United States, and the Netherlands.

Mindy Rose Schwartz is a Chicago-based artist who received an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1996. She has shown extensively in Chicago.

Brooklyn-based Danica Phelps has catalogued her daily expenses from the day she left graduate school at Rhode Island School of Design in 1998. In her evolving project, Phelps extracts significant events from her daily activities and expenses. Phelps has had solo exhibitions at Jack Tilton Gallery, New York, and Michael Anderson Gallery, San Francisco.

Stephanie Brooks emulates impersonal common sign systems like tax forms, constellation maps, and needlepoint patterning, only to invert them with the insertion of subjectivity and humor, exploring the multiple meanings inherent in the language of these systems. Based in Chicago, Brooks has had one-person exhibitions at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago and Ten in One Gallery, New York.

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