After spending the winter holidays with a house full of tech savvy off-spring that were tuned in and connected to anything electronic at all times, coming across Richard Gilles’ work of empty bill boards brings a sense of relief and calm to a world that is over saturated with information. Richard’s previous series, Almost Home-less, was selected for an Honorable Mention in the Aperture Portfolio Prize, and his new series, Signs of the Times, opens at the DNJ Gallery in Los Angeles this Saturday, January 23 through March 6th, 2010.
Born in Georgia and now living in Folsom, California, Richard is an observer of the American landscape. He manages to synthesize the affect of man on the landscape from his projects about empty signage to highway memorials in his series, The Highway Remembers. His work reflects someone that spends a lot of time on the road, and uses that time to process what he is seeing.
Outdoor advertising, or billboards as they are more commonly known are everywhere. They constantly bombard us with messages to buy. They are in some ways a reflection of our society and economy. In fact, the outdoor advertising industry’s own trade publication is called Signs of the Times.
With this new series of photographs, I am exploring what these signs say about us or to us when they are empty. Is a blank billboard an advertisement for an economic decline? Or is it a minimalist object whose message is only that which viewer brings to it?
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