Ian Whitmore:


November 2012 — January 2013
At the CTA Damen Blue Line Station

Johalla Projects, in collaboration with the WPB SSA #33 arts committee, will display artwork by Ian J. Whitmore, entitled NOWHERE, beginning this week at the Damen Blue Line Stop. NOWHERE will feature four framed photographs and an informative piece about the project, occupying space leading up to the platform in an effort to put nature in a space it should not be.

This artwork is part of an innovative initiative to remove art from the confines of the gallery and provide accessibility to thousands of CTA riders. By putting art in unconventional spaces, Johalla Projects seeks to help commuters enjoy fine art in unexpected places. Whitmore is the first artist to exhibit at the Damen Stop as part of the bi-monthly collaboration, which will rotate artists to show art of all mediums.

Johalla Projects sends a big ‘thank you’ to Alderman Joe Moreno for his advocacy and support.

Nowhere is an ambiguous yet ubiquitous space. It is woven into our civic and commercial landscape as irresponsible and irrelevant decoration. In these images, we see spaces that we move through every day but rarely acknowledge for their functional purpose or aesthetic value. How we engage with these spaces speaks to how we neglectfully pass through our own culture and cities and more importantly our interactions with one another. 

Through these photographs, Ian explores the ironic and garish nature of what surrounds us. By drawing the viewer into the banal and confronting the illusion that these environments are important and of interest, the mirage quickly dissolves, unveiling impotence and benign ornamentation. Those promising paths that once led us forward, reaching into the horizon, have been cleared away and accessorized. Following the rhythm of Progress, our civic body ceaselessly expands and the horizon draws near—collapsing in on us— as it becomes clear that we have arrived nowhere in particular.

About the artist: Ian J. Whitmore was born and raised in Nebraska. He earned his BFA at University of Nebraska–Lincoln and later his MFA at Indiana University–Bloomington.He has exhibited work nationally; most recently at the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, the Chicago Cultural Center, University of Mary Washington, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, the Photographic Center Northwest in Seattle, and the South Bend Regional Museum of Art.

A former Adjunct Instructor in the Photography Department at Columbia College, Ian is now an Assistant Professor of Art at Portland State University in Oregon.Ian is currently engaged in a long-term artist book project titled Onomasticon: A Vocabulary for Nowhere derived from the body of work you see in this installation.