Joel Ross: ROADSIDE: A Presentation of Recent Field Experiments and Prototypes

2 May - 18 June 2009

Monique Meloche opened her gallery in May 2001 with Joel Ross’ memorable solo exhibition “I borrowed my mother’s bedroom.” For his 3rd solo show at the gallery, Texas-born Ross continues his investigation into public signage with a series of new photographs, works on paper, and a site-specific installation for “ROADSIDE: A Presentation of Recent Field Experiments and Prototypes.” Ross is “currently working on a series of sculptures that take the form of roadside signage. These objects are made and then sited at locations ranging from single-lane gravel farm roads to major highways. Most of these installations are not formally authorized, so the work’s engagement with its initial audience, travelers on the road, is often rather brief. A series of photographs of these installations and the related works on paper become a record of these events as well as the primary point of engagement with their second audience, the art-going public.”
– From the artist’s website


Joel Ross (American b. 1966) holds a MFA from Cranbrook Academy for Art (Michigan) and a BFA from Tufts University (Maine). Currently he is Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Design at University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana, a position he has held since 2004 . The Krannert Museum of Art at U of I recently acquired work by Ross for their Permanent Collection. Many are familiar with his installation in the lobby of The James Hotel Chicago titled “Room 28” — a seminal work for Ross in which the contents of an entire motel room is repacked in a minimal stack of vintage suitcases. Recent group shows include “Cultivating Instability” curated by Iain Muirhead at Cliff Dwellers, Chicago as well as “Lifting: Theft in Art” curated by Atopia Projects at the Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen Scotland that travelled to Georgia Sherman Projects in Toronto and Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, Fort Worth, TX (catalogue forthcoming). In addition to moniquemeloche, Ross has had solo shows at The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2007), Rare Gallery NY (2006/2001), Vedanta Gallery (now Kavi Gupta) Chicago (1999), Lunds University Gallery Sweden (1996), and Chicago Project Room (1996). An interview with Ross is forthcoming in the June issue of Chicago Magazine.


This exhibition has been generously supported by the University of Illinois Research Board, which gave Ross his second Arnold O. Beckman Research Award in May 2008 for a grant proposal that showed “special distinction, special promise, or special resource value.” This new body of work would not have been possible without that support.