Mark Mumford

Photographs and Sculpture
July 22 to August 21, 2004

James Harris Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of photographs and sculpture by Seattle artist, Mark Mumford. The artist continues his investigation of words and phrases often found in everyday speech. He sees these works as a convergence of surrealism, pop, and conceptualism. For this exhibition, Mumford photographed signs or placards on different styles of chairs. Short phrases are graphically laid out on a white ground, and then placed on chairs, the sculptures are then photographed. For example, the text “Very Nearly Empty” sits on an office chair, its back hidden by the sign but clearly visible are its seat and black casters.

Mumford photographs act as doubles to explore multiple themes. Manipulation and suggestion through linguistic referencing, the language of control, the challenge to accept the modes of authorship and the presentation of advertisement in contemporary culture are all present. The work is the product of sensibility but appears circumscribed by the artificial and the mechanical. His photographic prints communicate a distinct sense of humanness but adhere to the “cool” of the commercial or manufactured. Mumford’s work conflates the meaning of written messages by critiquing how believable they are. Each pictorial suggestion becomes a shifting ground of meaning while demonstrating the ever-present power of language.

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