When I first saw Joshua Ballew’s
work, I knew we had something in common. For years, I would collect shopping lists I’d find in grocery carts and keep them to reread the scrawled rosters of much needed items. They were poignant and insightful and ultimately odd and ordinary. The handwriting, the miss spellings, and that one quirky item that gives you a window into the person adds to the experience.Joshua also collects grocery lists for his project, Archive of the Ordinary
Image from Archives of the Ordinary
The series featured today is a wonderful exploration of items he has come across in various books. Between the Sheets are little messages or totems that connect us to another human and offer a sense of history and what has come before.
Joshua is working towards his BFA in Photography at The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) and living in his hometown of Milwaukee, WI. His work questions “What do the objects we use reflect about our character”? By utilizing mundane, yet personal items he investigates what can be revealed by creating typologies of similar objects. The collected work exposes something about the person the items are connected to, but also reflect items that are banal and wonderfully unique at the same time.
Between The Sheets – This series examines the peculiar relationship between used “romance” novels and the small items I find within each book. I am motivated by the simple question, “What do the objects we use reveal about our character?” My process of searching through the shelves of bookstores and thrift shops is deliberate, while the discovery and variety of items left behind is unexpected.
Each diptych exists as a faceless portrait of the previous owner offering more questions than definitive answers. Pairing the items with an image of the pages on which they were found, allows for the banality of each item to contrast the sensational lines of text and titles of each book. This disparity between the real and the ideal becomes the focus of the work, speaking directly to the desire of escapism fulfilled within the pages of each book.