mixed media installation
18 january — 17 february 2019
dc arts center, washington, dc
c u r a t o r i a l s t a t e m e n t
__lineation__ slowed me down.
initially entitled as ten typed underscores, __________, then creeping into a slippery space that combines the pronounceable lineation with an unpronounceable visual pause of two underscores situated prior to, and also following, the word. __lineation__ is an intervention that in its simplicity and directness encourages contemplation. the underscores provide visual pause, an interruption that holds space around the word. it disrupts the fluidity expected when reading, by stopping the eye with a quiet space. the word lineation is a noun with active trajectory, more suggestive of how a verb might function but steadfast as a subject. it links line-making with the accumulation of line’s associations.
thinking tangentially about line, then, it is a designation of space, an interior that stands apart from an exterior, a possessive space that exposes the confines of what is ours and not theirs. it is a border, a potential wall that designates access to territory. while lineation describes traces through time, a collection of stories, it expands our understanding of place as one that is historical and therefore expansive. our spaces were once inhabited by others and there are traces of their existence still present. __lineation__ is a catalyst that weaves together these themes through the act of contemplative mark making so that these traces are more aptly felt. through this work, ros asks that we become more aware, stating “what i love about the notion of awareness is that it goes beyond politics and class and social-strata. it elevates all willing to engage with it, no matter where they stand. therefore, the idea of awareness brings us ever closer to understanding and perhaps a more permanent solution, to issues that affect our day-to-day. awareness of ourselves and our surrounds will open up the possibility of being a more engaged citizen. a more empathetic human.”
in order to tie this conversation more specifically to the site, ros has exposed the 1989 architectural layout of the two apartments that existed prior to the construction of the dc arts center and created a series of typed underscore prints. these prints, executed on a typewriter, perform a physical and unmediated immediacy that further abstracts the notion of line as archive. gordon matta-clark in his anarchitecture subverted the commodification of art by documenting through video and photography as he sawed through and carved out architecture. these ephemeral works pushed the power of line as something disruptive, present, and actionable. ros’ work, while tonally quieter, holds its power in its restraint and slow consideration. it is not a spectacle but a curated archive of this space and the stories experienced here.
__lineation__ uses both space and form in order to echo an ethos of awareness. ros’ aesthetic, both clean and deliberate, exposes a need to make visible that which is easily overlooked, a philosophy that extends towards the margins of the american politic. his installations are, at their base, a gift, a rare slowing down, traces of a process of true attention, and an act that rebels against a contemporary climate of fast paced convenience, exploitive consumption, and waste.
a r t i s t s t a t e m e n t
prints (what would have been) //
the prints are visual representations of ten underscores typed consecutively on a letter-sized page. the page, originally from a perforated stack of dot-matrix computer paper, is removed from its banner-like position; all perforated vestiges torn away. ten underscores mark a segmented line. in modern typography, the line typically forms a solid. typed with a 1940’s royal, ink evaporating, the continuation is suggested. breaks in the boundary allow for sighs, exhales and possible entries into new spaces. side-to-side. back-and-forth. here and there. the page offers this possibility and adds to notions of contradiction within the larger boundaries of the eight and a half by eleven inch surface.
original statement for __lineation__ //
physical space and time have always been important elements within my practice. i cannot help but to see a place’s potential the moment i enter it. this engagement could materialize into a variety of moments to form a fully-realized intervention, but it always starts with imagining the impossible. what if i moved the wall in-front of the windows? how would the light be revealed in the space and how might the sight of the street change our experiences in the gallery? what if i replaced the original walls from the old apartments that used to exist here? how many conversations about life were had in these spaces? how many times were the walls painted? floors sanded? stairs climbed? my questions of a space always look to the past, but in a way that pushes us to the next.
drawing lines are usually my next step. they form and build both digitally or physically as major elements — indicators of boundary and self. lines develop and spaces form. conversations open through the building of space through shape and tone. actual physical surfaces/walls become substrates. we are surrounded. these temporary additions add to ideas within the moment in performative and yet more exacting ways. direct application emphasizes space and time — building upon the existing histories, these drawings will too disappear.
ultimately, the installation process and resulting intervention focuses on awareness. what i love about the notion of awareness is that it goes beyond politics and class and social-strata. it elevates all willing to engage with it, no matter where they stand. therefore, the idea of awareness brings us ever closer to understanding and perhaps a more permanent solution to issues that affect our day-to-day. awareness of ourselves and our surrounds will open up the possibility of being a more engaged citizen. a more empathetic human.
revised statement for __lineation__ //
time and process need to be revealed in a way that steps away from the direct performative. implied performance is preferred here. removing drawings applied directly to the walls; this space comes back to the typed page. a recent performance measured time by day and marked the slow process one day at a time. day-by-day. page-by-page. this recent memory seems to make the most sense in the way that it takes the mark off the wall. here, the above (on prints) holds true. underscores, duration, segmentation, whole. defined moments of soft openness and possibility. here, the page hums as if holding onto the clap of inked metal arm, leveraged from a shift and number six keys pressed at the same time. echoes enter fibers like moments fill air and memory becomes walls — layer after layer, month after month. we get to thirty here. days, years, underscores like letterpressed line on page, year on skin, mark on wall. these framed moments compile. rest. reverberate each tap, each sigh, as walls fill time between tomorrow’s daydream.
— john ros, 2019 | .pdf artist statement
30 years, 2019
30 page installation / 30 years of programming @ dcac
typed page, 11 x 8.5 in. | 28 x 21.5cm