In Joel Gibb’s world, some of life’s darkest moments are tenderized with a gentle touch. His felt banners, collages, watercolors, videos, and of course songs, somehow manage to soften and even celebrate death, disease, and doom. Emblematic and striking, images of skulls, penis-daggers, and gravestones seem to arise from a song or, as the artist describes the relationship between his works of art and music: “words become shapes and shapes become melodies.” Conflating Pop, Folk, and religious tradition with influences from General Idea to Hugo Ball, Gibb’s cross- disciplinary oeuvre conveys notions about politics, pleasure, mortality, and love.
In the project room, exquisitely focused on surface, the recent graphite drawings of G.B. Jones represent animals alongside sepulchral monuments and crosses. Invoking the various cultural meanings that the two have accumulated throughout history, the artist subtly questions the tendency of society to use such symbols to assert its values upon others. In the tradition of artists such as Caspar David Freidrich, Jones draws the viewer back towards the meanings such symbols had centuries ago, which in her words, “return to the darkness within”.