Jeff Zimmerman: “Vehicle”
April 9 – May 26, 2004
Opening Reception: Friday, April 9, 2004, 6 – 9pm
Linda Warren Gallery is pleased to present Vehicle, an exhibition featuring recent works by Chicago-based artist Jeff Zimmermann. Vehicle will debut a number of new paintings of paddy wagons, ice cream trucks, and “urban tumbleweeds,” and will also include a section of a large-scale 2003 mural/painting entitled Dark Matter, which was recently included in a one-person show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Zimmermann refers to his pieces as “realism with content.” Often beginning with a photograph, he renders his subjects in exact detail that is rich with nuance. The responses to his loaded but subtle images are intended to vary according to the viewer’s own experiences and emotions. The iconic figures and objects represented force the viewer to re-evaluate their pre-determined definitions of ugliness/beauty, decay/vitality, and irrelevance/relevance.
The works included in Vehicle explore complex, opposite reactions of invitation combined with repulsion. The large- and small-scale paintings can be characterized as responses to the living urban environment. They are non-elite, incorporating mass-cultural references in a manner that is neither ironic nor pedantic.
The paintings of “urban tumbleweeds” can appear beautiful when regarded as an array of reflective surfaces and colors, but can also be regarded as depictions of discarded street trash. The images of paddy wagons convey protection or intimidation, depending on the viewer’s associations, but also appeal to a sense of voyeurism, as they imply dense but unfinished urban narratives. The ice cream trucks can be considered nostalgic, but lack any sense of the good old days, missing their drivers, tree-lined streets, and consumers gathering to purchase frosty goodies. The vehicles’ contexts are obscured by the colorful backgrounds, allowing the viewer to locate their own stories within. These vehicles are simultaneously about the street, yet removed from the street.
Jeff Zimmermann received a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has exhibited at numerous galleries in the United States and in Puerto Rico, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. His outdoor murals may be found across the city of Chicago, in Kenya, and in Peru.